Man Creates Website that Tracks Broken McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. out of order / aʊt ʌv ˈɔr dər / (idiom) – not functioning properly

    We returned the printer to the store because it’s always out of order.

  2. bot / bɒt / (n) – a computer program that can interact with users independently

    The website has a bot that automatically answers visitors’ questions.

  3. up and running / ʌp ənd ˈrʌn ɪŋ / (idiom) – to be working and operational

    After a couple of tries, my father eventually got the computer up and running again.

  4. lag / læg / (v) – to move more slowly than others

    Stephen was lagging behind, so I stopped and waited for him to catch up.

  5. go out of (one’s) way / goʊ aʊt əv weɪ / (idiom) – to put extra effort into doing something, especially for another person

    He went out of his way and canceled all his meetings just to help his friend.


Read the text below.

A German software engineer developed a website that displays a map of McDonald’s ice cream machines and tells whether they are broken or working.

Rashiq Zahid created the website, named McBroken, after not being able to order a McDonald’s sundae in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district because the ice cream machine was out of order.

Over the summer, he created McBroken by making bots that can place an ice cream order at every restaurant in the country through the McDonald’s app. If the ice cream machine is broken, the bot will not be able to add any ice cream to its cart and a red dot will appear on the map. A green dot, on the other hand, indicates that the bot successfully added ice cream and the machine is working.

After he got McBroken up and running, Zahid tested it in Germany, which has around 1,500 McDonald’s restaurants. He used the website to check the ice cream machines in Berlin. Then, he confirmed if the results were correct by visiting the stores one by one. He found that his website’s results matched the status of the fast-food chain’s ice cream machine every time.

Zahid then decided to test McBroken in the US, where McDonald’s has almost 10,000 locations. Within minutes after launching, the website received 10,000 visits, causing it to lag and eventually crash. Zahid had to troubleshoot the website for an hour to ensure it ran smoothly again.

McBroken became so popular that even David Tovar, McDonald’s Vice President of communications and government relations in the US, visited the website. In a tweet, he thanked Zahid for going out of his way to help customers and called him a true McDonald’s fan.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Zahid made the website to help or criticize McDonald’s? Explain.
• Do you think McDonald’s should incorporate McBroken into its own website? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• How can having machines that are often broken affect a business? Discuss.
• How can businesses effectively let customers know when their machines are broken?