Walking into a McDonald's and finding out the ice cream machine is broken is one of the worst feelings in the world. So much so that a die-hard McDonald's fan coded a program to tell customers when McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines are broken. McBroken is an ambitious project from Rashiq who unleashed it on social media to the delight of anyone that spent some time noodling around with it. They describe the project, “I reverse engineered McDonald's internal ordering api and I'm currently placing an order for a mc sundae every minute at every McDonald's location in the US to figure out which ones have a broken ice cream machine.” That’s pretty impressive and even more staggering is the reach a small rollout like this could have on the larger web. Most of us have had a moment of disappointment when you roll through the drive-thru and the workers inform you that the ice cream machine is down.
I reverse engineered mcdonald's internal api and I'm currently placing an order worth $18,752 every minute at every mcdonald's in the US to figure out which locations have a broken ice cream machine https://t.co/2KsRwAdrMd— rashiq (@rashiq) October 22, 2020
While, that’s not a very important problem on its own, the level of data needed to coordinate a map of this size is laudable. There are already people hard at work trying to use the sample of information to determine other things about how these restaurants work. In a post on producthunt, Rashiq actually tested out the map and biked through Berlin and saw that the information given matched up with their attempts to order. Loads of tech personalities have commented on the phenomena but there is no doubt that there is something to be gained from all these little dots on a gigantic map. Some users were basically horrified by the sheer density of all the McDonalds locations in cities like New York.
Rashiq said on Twitter, “I reverse engineered mcdonald's internal api and I'm currently placing an order worth $18,752 every minute at every mcdonald's in the US to figure out which locations have a broken ice cream machine… I'm sorry mcdonald's data analyst I'm afraid I'm ruining your entire mobile conversion metrics for my own personal amusement.”
to clarify how this works: mcdonald's keeps track which locations have a broken machine, I'm merely querying for those - no order gets executed, no ice cream is actually wasted 🍦— rashiq (@rashiq) October 22, 2020
While it may be a bad day for the data analysis team, it’s been a boon for people online. The stories of various McDonalds from around the country and the ice cream machine sagas will bring a smile to most people’s faces. Granted, the precarious nature of the soft-serve sustainability has nothing to do with the individual workers there and everything to do with how hard it is to maintain those machines. Also of note, there are some people saying that the machines read as broken when they’re in cleaning cycles as well. So, there’s a lot to learn and now the Internet has plenty of time to figure it out.
Do you have a McDonalds Ice Cream Machine story? Let us know down in the comments!