It is a truth universally acknowledged by McDonald’s fans that it can be pretty difficult to get hold of a McFlurry, with workers at the chain often saying the machines are broken.
And now, claims are circulating that the food chain is under investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission to ascertain just why these machines break.
The Wall Street Journal published a report that stated that the McFlurry machine breakages were “potentially in violation of anti-trust law” and that the FTC had sent letters to stores asking them about the issue. They said the “FTC enquiry is preliminary” and claimed the FTC wants to know how McDonald’s reviews suppliers and equipment, including the ice cream machines, and how frequently franchise owners work on their own machines.
The FTC did not immediately respond to indy100’s request for comment.
But McDonald’s has released its own statement saying it has no reason to believe this is the case.
It said: “Intrinsic to the interest in our soft serve machines is our fans’ love of McDonald’s iconic McFlurry desserts and shakes.
“Nothing is more important to us than delivering on our high standards for food quality and safety, which is why we work with fully vetted partners that can reliably provide safe solutions at scale.
“McDonald’s has no reason to believe we are the focus of an FTC investigation.”
Whether it is under investigation or not, a statement was released by Taylor Commercial Foodservice LLC, the company that makes the machines for McDonald’s, to explain the issues with broken machines.
The company said that, although it tries to send out repairs specialists as quickly as it can, the waiting times have become longer as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The statement said: “A lot of what’s been broadcasted can be attributed to the lack of knowledge about the equipment and how they operate in the restaurants,
“The machines are built up with a lot of interconnecting parts that have to operate in a complex environment and manner.”
Meanwhile, the National Owners Association, a group of franchisees, also complained about the machines and the reputation they gave McDonald’s, in a message to owners earlier this year.
Explaining the process, they said the machines need to be put through a four-hour nightly automated heat-cleaning cycle to destroy any bacteria, leaving the machines unusable until a repair technician comes to fix them.
The news comes after the chain recently faced a milkshake shortage in the UK as part of the lorry driver shortage which is affecting supply chains. So those who wanted a milkshake or a McFlurry were left disappointed in some stores.