Is Your Local McDonald's Ice Cream Machine Broken? Check the McBroken App

The web app answers the question: Does your nearest McDonald's have working ice cream machines?
Is Your Local McDonald's Ice Cream Machine Broken? Check the McBroken App
Image credit: Michal Fludra/NurPhoto/Getty Images via PC Mag

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This story originally appeared on PC Mag

Many McDonald's fans know the pain of walking into a restaurant only to find its ice cream machine out of order. Soft-serve dreams and McFlurry brain freezes dashed in an instant.

Worry no more: the new McBroken website gives you the inside scoop into which McDonald’s restaurants are serving ice cream. A 24-year old software engineer, Rashiq Zahid, built the app by fiddling with the McDonald's API.

Here’s how it works: McDonald’s keeps track of which locations have a broken ice cream machine. If you try to order ice cream at a given McDonald’s, and its machine is broken, you can’t add the items to your cart: They’ll be marked as unavailable. So Zahid’s app places an order ($18,752 is the total worth) every minute at every McDonald’s in the US. He’s not paying thousands of dollars, of course—he’s merely seeing whether his orders go through. 

Current stats show that 9.3 percent of McDonald’s ice cream machines in the US are busted: 20 percent in Seattle, 19.57 percent in New York, 13.89 percent in Washington, and 13.64 in Phoenix.

Zahid first tested McBroken in Berlin. He biked to every McDonald’s in the city to fact-check and found that the status of the machine matched the results from the app every time. “I was like, this would be pretty interesting for Germany, but it would be amazing for the US, which is basically the capital of McDonald’s,” Zahid told The Verge.

So is McDonald’s happy about this? According to Twitter, senior officials don’t mind. David Tovar, McDonald’s VP of US communications and government relations, tweeted that "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.” 

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