It seems to happen so often that it's become a running joke — you go to McDonald's craving a McFlurry or another frozen treat only to find out that the ice cream machine isn't working. It's disappointing but certainly not shocking. So, after years of inaction on McDonald's part, some sweet-toothed fans have taken matters into their own hands.
According to the Verge, when 24-year-old software engineer Rashiq Zahid went to a McDonald's in Berlin this summer and was unable to purchase a McSundae, he tried to think of a way to track which restaurants had broken machines. Using the McDonald's mobile app, he noticed that frozen desserts were marked "currently unavailable" when a location's machine was down. This led Zahid to create McBroken, a website that tracks where McDonald's ice cream machines are out of order. Zahid posted about it on Twitter Thursday and immediately grabbed the Twitterverse's attention.
"I reverse engineered mcdonald's internal api and I'm currently placing an order worth $18,752 every minute at every mcdonald's in the US to figure out which locations have a broken ice cream machine," Zahid wrote, referring to McDonald's application programming interface, which receives requests and sends responses.
McBroken displays a map of every McDonald’s location in the U.S. Locations with a working ice-cream machine get a green dot while locations with broken ones get a red dot. A column on the right compiles statistics — currently 8.68% of the chain's ice cream machines are down.
The tweet even got the attention of David Tovar, McDonald’s VP of US Communications.
"Only a true @McDonalds fan would go to these lengths to help customers get our delicious ice cream! So, thanks! We know we have some opportunities to consistently satisfy even more customers with sweet treats and we will," Tovar replied to Zahid on Twitter.
This isn't the first time a loyal fan took matters into their own hands when they missed out on one Shamrock Shake too many. In 2017, Raina McLeod created an app called Ice Check so that Mickey D fans could located the nearest working machine.
“McDonald’s always aims to provide a restaurant experience that our customers expect, and it is exciting to see customer passion translate into customer-innovated solutions to further make that experience a reality," McDonald's USA said in a statement to TODAY Food. "We’re committed to making sweet treats from our dessert menu available at all of our restaurants and are regularly working with our franchisees and suppliers on improving and enhancing the restaurant experience so that customers can continue to enjoy McDonald’s food where and when they want it.”
A report from Business Insider even said that some franchisees have gotten together to try and remedy the ongoing problem and get those soft-serve machines fixed once and for all.
Zahid did not immediately respond to TODAY's request for comment, but we're hoping his enterprising venture will lead to more availability of ice cream. In the meantime, we'll just keep following the McMemes.