The Taylor Company in Rockton, Illinois has been making the ice cream machines for McDonald's for years and now they have the FTC investigating them.

It's something that's been joked about ad nauseam, but that's because it's true. I'm pretty sure that all of us have had a hankering for a McFlurry only to be turned away at the drive-thru window because "the ice cream machine is down for maintenance."

How can a billion dollar company have troubles serving a product that has been on their menu for decades? Dairy Queen has figured it out. You can always get a frosty at Wendy's. What's going on with McDonald's?

Well, the issue has risen above just people complaining about it on social media to an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission. While on its face that may seem like an overreach, but when claims of a company holding a monopoly in an industry, that's when the FTC should step in.

The whole situation is complicated and you can read a detailed story about it here, but the Cliff's Notes version of the story is that when the machines are "down for maintenance" they're really going through a cleaning cycle.

Taylor Defends Themselves

Taylor explains that's because the machines are not being properly maintained and cleaned by the restaurants.

A lot of what's been broadcasted can be attributed to the lack of knowledge about the equipment and how they operate in the restaurants... you have to make sure the machine is cleaned properly. The machines are built up with a lot of interconnecting parts that have to operate in a complex environment and manner.

Some franchisees have gone around Taylor to try to find a fix, an action that Taylor does not allow. This led to other repair companies to claim that Taylor is holding a monopoly on the repair business with McDonald's.

It is interesting that on the Taylor website they highlight many of the companies that they work with, none that I've heard of. One company that is nowhere on their website is McDonald's. You'd think that you would want to advertise that you work with one of the biggest companies in the world, but it is suspiciously absent.

McDonald's has been skating by for years with an unreliable product but didn't seem to really care, time will tell if this will make them change.

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