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Why McDonald's ice cream machines are seemingly always broken

Hayley Peterson
McDonald's soft serve

McDonald's won widespread praise earlier this year when the fast-food chain said it would be replacing its ice cream machines after years of complaints from customers.

But five months after the announcement, McDonald's ice cream machines are still letting customers down.

Thousands of customers have been complaining on social media, saying that the machines are almost always broken when the craving for McFlurries or soft serve strikes.

In some cases, the machines might not actually be broken -- they could just be out of service for cleaning, according to The Wall Street Journal.

McDonald's requires the machines to undergo a nightly cleaning cycle that can last four hours. During that time, they can't serve ice cream.

The replacement machines are meant to fix that problem. They have fewer parts and are easier to maintain.

But that doesn't explain why customers are still complaining about the machines.

We asked McDonald's about the ongoing complaints, and it turns out the machines still haven't been replaced.

While the company has identified replacement machines, it hasn't yet rolled them out in restaurants, according to a McDonald's representative.

"In order to better serve our customers the delicious treats they enjoy, we have identified new soft serve equipment options, and are working hard to make these available for restaurants as quickly as possible," the representative said.  

For now, customers will have to continue to take a gamble on whether the machines will be in service when they get an urge for McDonald's soft-serve.