This Site Knows if Your Local McDonald's Ice Cream Machine Is Broken

Is it working right now? Probably not.

There's a tired joke about McDonald's chronically broken ice cream machines. You've heard it, I've heard it, and 24-year-old software engineer Rashiq Zahid has heard it.

Fortunately, one of us—the engineer, of course—found a way to protect McDonald's fans from the age-old disappointment of heading all the way to a store only to be told the ice cream machine isn't working. Zahid calls his new masterpiece mcbroken, and it actually appears to work.

In simple terms, because, let's be real, most of us don't know what the hell reverse engineering an internal API means, mcbroken acts as a bot that tests the availability of ice cream sundaes at every US location every 30 minutes. It does so by trying to add a sundae to the cart on McDonald's mobile app.

If the app fails to add a sundae to the cart because ice cream is unavailable at that location, that spot is marked with a red dot on the map. If the app succeeds at adding a sundae to the cart, it means ice cream is available at that location, earning the spot a green dot on the map.

mcbroken map of mcdonald's ice cream machines

This isn't the first time someone has figured out a way to track McDonald's ice cream status, but it's still noteworthy. And it's timed timing is apt: McDonald's franchisees formed a task force this month to get to the route of the broken machine issue.

Bots like this can mess with metrics and, especially considering mcbroken puts McDonald's ice cream machine problem in the spotlight, there's always a chance McDonald's will try to intervene and shut it down. So far, it's still trekking along, though, even earning commendation from the company's VP of US Communications & Government Relations, David Tovar.

"Only a true @McDonalds fan would go to these lengths to help customers get our delicious ice cream!" he tweeted. "So, thanks! We know we have some opportunities to consistently satisfy even more customers with sweet treats and we will."

Let's hope this one lasts.

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.