While McDonald’s is of course known for its burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets, real connoisseurs of the fast food chain know that their desserts deserve a special shout out. From the soft serve cones to the McFlurries, there’s nothing quite like the sweet treat from the Golden Arches.
The saddest thing that can happen when you’re craving a McFlurry is when you roll up to a McDonald’s only to be told that the ice cream machine is down. Now, thanks to a 24 year old software developer, you may not have to experience that feeling ever again.
Rashiq Zahid was trying to order a McSundae through the McDonald’s app on his phone when he saw that he could not add the item to his cart because it was unavailable. He decided to take matters into his own hands.
Zahid said: “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 later developed a website called McBroken.com, which displays every single McDonald’s in the United States. They show up as either red or green, indicating whether the branch’s ice cream machines are working or not in real time.
Zahid told The Verge: “I love poking around in different apps and just looking at the security features and the internal APIs. I am pretty familiar with how to reverse-engineer apps. I was like ‘Okay, this should be pretty easy.’”
He shared that the hardest part of his mission was to figure out how long it would take before he was flagged as a bot for adding too many McSundaes to his carts. It turns out the answer is 30 minutes, which is also how often locations update their status of the ice cream machines.
Zahid said: “I just made it for fun, but people were like ‘Wow, this is the best thing I’ve seen this entire week.’” The site does have other fun features, which include a percentage of how many broken machines there are total. The site also ranks in real time which major cities have the most broken machines.
McDonald’s VP of U.S. Communications David Tovar tweeted his support of Zahid’s website. He said: “Only a true @McDonalds fan would go to these lengths to help customers get our delicious ice cream! So, thanks! We know we have some opportunities to consistently satisfy even more customers with sweet treats and we will.”
We’re truly grateful to Zahid for taking the time to create such a useful web app for us to know whether we can enjoy our McFlurries or not without wasting any time heading to our local McDonald’s branch.