The Nerd Side Of Life

Ice Cream Machine-Fixing Company Sues McDonald’s for Defamation

Remember that entire ordeal where McDonald’s was being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission because of their ice cream machines? The point of the FTC’s interest in the fast food empire is the consistent complaint from customers that the ice cream machines are always broken. What kind of company is satisfied with having a piece of equipment vital to making several popular items on their menu constantly inoperable?

Well, one company aimed to fix this problem by creating machines to diagnose and prevent such issues. Kytch was able to sell 500 of their machines to McDonald’s in 2021. But, shortly thereafter, the Golden Arches ordered the machines removed from their stores.

 “Nothing is more important to us than food quality and safety, which is why all equipment in McDonald’s restaurants is thoroughly vetted before it’s approved for use,” a McDonald’s spokesperson told WIRED. “After we learned that Kytch’s unapproved device was being tested by some of our franchisees, we held a call to better understand what it was and subsequently communicated a potential safety concern to franchisees. There’s no conspiracy here.”

Kytch doesn’t believe this, however, and has filed a $900 million lawsuit against the chain. The machine manufacturers claim a severe drop off of their sales after McDonald’s removed the product, as well as smearing of their name.

“They’ve tarnished our name,” Kytch co-founder Melissa Nelson said. “They scared off our customers and ruined our business. They were anti-competitive. They lied about a product that they said would be released. McDonald’s had every reason to know that Kytch was safe and didn’t have any issues. It was not dangerous, like they claimed. And so we’re suing them.”

Kytch is also claiming that McDonald’s used its device to reverse engineer and develop a new ice cream machine that uses Kytch’s technology, without any kind of compensation or licensing agreement for proprietary software.

We’ll let you know what happens with McFlurryGate.

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