The mystery behind McDonald's consistently broken ice cream machines

A small company called Kytch is suing McDonald's for $900 million in relation to an ice-cream machine repair device

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published March 4, 2022 7:22PM (EST)

McDonald's restaurant July 29, 2003 in Redwood City, California   (Getty/Justin Sullivan)
McDonald's restaurant July 29, 2003 in Redwood City, California (Getty/Justin Sullivan)

A small company named Kytch is going toe to toe with McDonald's in relation to their consistently broken ice cream machines. So now you may find yourself waiting even longer for that ice cream cone you've been craving.

On Tuesday the company filed a $900 million lawsuit against the fast-food chain that will play out in a Delaware federal court. In a 133-page court filing, Kytch claims that McDonald's disparaged them in relation to a device they developed that repairs ice cream machines.

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According to a report by The Hill, Jeremy O'Sullivan and Melissa Nelson, founders of Kytch, started the company to "resolve issues with McDonald's ice cream machines." Kytch claims that a company called Taylor, which manufactures the ice cream machines used by McDonald's, have a "lucrative scheme" going for themselves in that they own the exclusive rights to repair the machines. Kytch also believes that the company that makes the ice cream machines profits off of the malfunctions somehow. 

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In 2019 Kytch developed a device called the Kytch Solution that allows for remote monitoring and repair of the ice cream machines, and won an endorsement from the National Restaurant Association. But the company's grievance is that they feel as though McDonald's and Taylor "ran false advertisements claiming the Kytch Solution was unsafe," because it was an interest of theirs to eventually develop a similar device of their own, according to the lawsuit document.

"Kytch brings this action to set the record straight, to vindicate the company's rights under civil law, to curb McDonald's anti-competitive conduct, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, to protect the consuming public from false and misleading advertisements, and to finally fix McDonald's broken soft-serve machines," the company says in the court filing. They further that "the damage to Kytch was instant and monumental," and that "McDonald's unlawful conduct had dire financial consequences for Kytch, its founders, investors, and its employees."

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By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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