Let’s paint a scene, shall we?
It’s 8:30 at night, and you’ve been so busy all day, you’ve forgotten to eat. Maybe you’ve got the kids in the back seat screaming that they’re hungry, or you just don’t have anything in the kitchen at home to make. So you go to the McDonald’s drive-thru, hoping to load up on fast food comfort food you’re not supposed to eat, and that includes a hot fudge Sunday or a McFlurry.
But alas, while you may have gotten your Big Mac or McChicken, the ice cream machine is yet again broken, and your McFlurry dreams have been crushed. Not only are you upset, but so are the kids in the back seat who just wanted an ice cream cone. If only there was some way you could have known the ice cream machine was down, so you could have gone to a different McDonald’s with a working machine.
A version of this scenario inspired 24-year-old software engineer Rashiq Zahid to created McBroken, a new website that tracks whether the ice cream machine at every McDonald’s is working or not.
It may seem like an impossible task to somehow track the ice cream machines at every single McDonald’s in the world, but with some clever thinking and technology, Zahid was able to crack the code.
In an interview with The Verge, Zahid said he noticed that he couldn’t order an ice cream item from a McDonald’s he was visiting on their kiosk or mobile app. Every time he tried to order, the ice cream came up as not available.
Thanks to some fancy technology that only a software engineer could understand, McBroken checks the McDonald’s app every 30 minutes to see if the ice cream options are available to order. If they are, the McDonald’s location on the app gets a green light, meaning you can order your McFlurry. If ice cream options are unavailable on the app, the location shows up red on McBroken. It’s as easy as that.
Zahid told The Verge in an interview that this was something he decided to do for fun, but the response he’s gotten has been overwhelmingly positive, and it’s come in handy for way more people than he ever thought possible.
Even a tweet from a McDonald’s VP of Communications the other day seemed to indicate that he was impressed with the efforts of Zahid to create this website.
So if you want to avoid a McDonald’s with a broken ice cream machine, just check out McBroken next time you head to the drive thru.