It’s the crushing news you expect to hear every time you go to a McDonald’s: our ice cream machine is broken. It’s such a common experience it’s almost rarer to find a McDonald’s that will actually sell you ice cream. It’s even become fodder for stand-up comedy. But now a hero has emerged from our midst, a hero who created a website that tracks every single McDonald’s ice cream machine in America and whether or not it’s currently working.
There’s no questioning McDonald’s standing in the fast-food world. They even try to flex that by offering off-beat items like burger scented candles, just because they can. That doesn’t mean they are resting on their laurels, either, given their new spicy chicken nuggets were a hit. The constantly broken soft serve, machines, are a big hole in their offerings.
24-year-old software engineer Rashiq Zahid is at least making it easier to find the machines that are up in order to save yourself a disappointing trip. He built a website tracking the operational ability of every soft serve machine. How?
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“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,” he tweeted. So, by taking advantage of the online ordering (without actually completing his $20,000 ice cream order every minute), he gives real-time data on ice cream at McBroken.com.
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
He certainly didn’t expect it to blow up the way it did, but it’s been a massive hit online. In less than two days, his site got more than 1.5 million unique users, with 16 million interactions with his McBroken map.
The entire project came from his attempt to order a McSundae using the digital app, but to no avail.
“I was like, there must be something that can be done about this,” he told The Verge. And thus, one bot later, McBroken.com was born, and we never have to be surprised by a McDonald’s soft serve machine again.