Federal Government Demands McDonalds Fix Problems With Ice Cream Machines

The United States government, as always laser focused on the important things, has turned its attention to a long-standing issue that has plagued fast-food customers and franchise owners alike: the perpetually malfunctioning soft serve ice cream machines at McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants.

In a letter addressed to the U.S. Copyright Office, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division have called for exemptions to be made for these machines under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a law that currently restricts franchise owners from performing their own repairs or hiring third-party technicians.

As it stands, only technicians licensed by the manufacturer of McDonald’s ice cream machines are authorized to carry out digital repairs.

This limitation has resulted in significant financial losses for franchise owners, with the joint letter from the FTC and DOJ stating that “soft serve equipment breakdown can lead to $625 per day loss of sales.” The letter further highlights the “long wait times for authorizer repairs” and the exorbitant costs associated with licensed repair technicians, who charge “over $300 per 15 minutes.”

The government’s intervention comes in response to numerous complaints from consumers and McDonald’s franchise owners who have grown increasingly frustrated with the financial consequences of these frequently breaking machines.

In 2022, the issue escalated when an ice cream repair company filed a $900 million lawsuit against McDonald’s after the fast-food chain prohibited franchise owners from using their product, which offered an easy solution for fixing the machines. McDonald’s justified its stance by asserting that the device breached the machine’s warranty and could potentially cause “serious human injury,” as reported by the New York Post.

While it is commendable that the government is taking steps to address this issue and support small business owners, one must question whether this is the most prudent use of federal resources, especially considering the numerous economic and global challenges currently facing the nation.

The government’s focus on soft serve machines, while undoubtedly frustrating for those directly affected, may be seen as misplaced when compared to the more pressing matters that have far-reaching consequences for the American people and the world at large.