App That Tells You Which McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines Are Working Launched

by : Emily Brown on : 23 Oct 2020 07:53
App That Tells You Which McDonald's Ice Cream Machines Is Working LaunchedApp That Tells You Which McDonald's Ice Cream Machines Is Working LaunchedPA Images

We all know the feeling; you arrive at McDonald’s, thinking you’re going to treat yourself to a McFlurry or milkshake with your meal, only to hear that age-old phrase uttered across the counter: ‘Sorry, the ice cream machine’s not working!’

The words have become a meme in their own right as it seems the machines are broken more often than not, and only on the rarest occasions do you actually get that frosty treat you’re craving.


McDonald’s customers everywhere have dreamed of a day they could enter a store knowing for certain they’d be able to get an ice cream, so one man from Germany set out to make that dream a reality.

McDonalds ice creamMcDonalds ice creamPixabay

Software engineer Rashiq Zahid announced on Twitter this week that he’d created a program which allowed hungry US citizens to see exactly which McDonald’s had working ice cream machines.

Using his engineering skills, the 24-year-old said he ‘reverse-engineered McDonald’s ordering Application Programming Interface (API)’ to allow him to track which restaurants had broken machines.


The site, titled McBroken, relies on each individual McDonald’s actively updating the status of its ice cream machine, but it’s certainly a lot more trustworthy than the sheer hope we’ve been relying on in the past.

McBroken displays a map of every McDonald’s in the US, with each location assigned its own dot. If the dot is green, it means the ice cream machine is working and there should be nothing standing between you and a McFlurry.

If the dot is red, there’s no hope.


Zahid came up with the idea for the program after facing his own ice-cream related disappointment in the Summer. Not wanting others to go through the same pain, he created a bot which attempts to order a McSundae from McDonald’s restaurants every 30 minutes.

If the bot is successful in attempting the order it correlates with a green dot on McBroken, though Zahid assured that he merely ‘queries’ for ice creams, meaning no products get wasted.


The 24-year-old tested the reliability of his app by biking to every McDonald’s in Berlin and placing manual orders to determine if his bot was returning correct information. Once he was sure it worked, he expanded it to the US.

Within 20 minutes of its launch, McBroken received 10,000 visitors – so many that the page actually crashed, The Verge reports. After a bit of troubleshooting, Zahid assured that it now ‘works perfect’.

David Tovar, McDonald’s VP of US Communications, expressed his enthusiasm for the app on Twitter, writing:

Only a true @McDonalds fan would go to these lengths to help customers get our delicious ice cream!


A column on the right of the McBroken site compiles the statistics of broken machines; at the time of writing, 9.16% of McDonald’s ice cream machines in the US are not in working order. New York is the worst hit with 23.91% of machines broken, followed by 19.35% in Philadelphia.

Zahid’s creation could change the way we approach McDonald’s forever – let us never be faced with broken machines again!

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Food, App, ice cream, McDonalds, Now


Rashiq Zahid/Twitter and 2 others
  1. Rashiq Zahid/Twitter


  2. The Verge

    Meet the 24-year-old who’s tracking every broken McDonald’s ice-cream machine in the US

  3. McBroken

    is the mcdonald’sice cream machine broken?