A German programmer, broken-hearted over not being able to get his hands on a McSundae due to broken down McDonald’s ice cream machines, has created a website that tracks which stores have working ones.
The website, McBroken, by Rashiq Zahid currently only lists machines in the United States, marking stores with green if the ice cream dispensers are working, or red if the machines are busted.
It also provides a national average of how many machines were currently broken, and highlights US states that had an above average percentage of failures.
According to the website, as of press time, New York had the most broken machines at 21.74%, way above the national average of 8.76%.
The software engineer told The Verge he was inspired by a failed attempt to order an ice cream from his local McDonald’s in the Kreuzberg district in Berlin.
He built a bot to leverage off the McDonald’s mobile app to place a mock order for ice creams.
If a store was unable to fulfill the order, listing ice creams as unavailable, the bot indicated the ice cream machine was busted.
To avoid being flagged as a bot, he set it to place orders once every half hour instead of once a minute.
After getting the bot to work in Germany, which has around 1,500 McDonald’s locations, he decided to test it in the US and launched McBroken to display the data.
He told the Verge that the decision to deploy it in the US was because the country “is basically the capital of McDonald’s”.
According to data firm Scrape Hero, there were 13,796 stores in the US.
Rashiq said he originally intended the website to be a joke, but was surprised to discover that people were actually finding it handy – “people were like ‘Wow, this is the best thing I’ve seen this entire week’,” he told The Verge.
He said he was now taking steps to upgrade its capacity to accommodate increased visitor traffic following its unexpectedly warm reception.
While the service was only available in the US for now, the bot could technically work in the Malaysian market which uses a similar McDonald’s app.
Did you find this article insightful?
50% readers found this article insightful