McDonald’s customers have one question in common: Why is the ice cream machine always broken?
Theories abound about why the company’s soft serve machines seem to be nonfunctional so frequently. These theories range from conspiracy to simple laziness on the part of some McDonald’s employees, as employees report that the McDonald’s soft serve machines are rather difficult to clean.
Now, a former McDonald’s employee has gone viral and sparked discussion after revealing some secrets from her time on the job—including information about why the ice cream machine is so often “broken.”
In a clip with over 591,000 views, TikToker Lorella Palmer (@lorellapalmer) reveals what she claims is the truth about this issue: The machines aren’t actually broken.
“The ice cream machine? It’s never broken,” she says. “If it’s running out of mix for the ice cream, for the milkshakes, and no one fills it up, it goes into what’s called ‘heat treat mode,’ and it takes ages for it to come back down from that—so it’s easier just to say it’s broken.”
@lorellapalmer Was honestly some of the best and worst years of my life working at Mcdonald’s 🍔 What do you want to know? Ask away, and I’ll film more 🤣 #mcdonaldssecrets #mcdonaldsemployee #mcdonaldsworker ♬ original sound – Lorella Palmer
Wired notes that this “heat treatment” is designed to clean the machine.
Palmer says that if the machine isn’t in heat treat mode, it’s likely being taken apart and cleaned, a process she describes as arduous.
“It will take them hours—I’m talking, like, a full shift to clean it from start to finish,” she reveals.
As the video goes on, she notes that many McDonald’s employees are younger and asks customers to understand this whenever there are slowdowns or issues with orders. She also says that inter-store romance is common, alongside a host of other “secrets.”
While Palmer revealed many things in her video, many commenters took specific note of her soft serve claim.
“The ice cream machine…..it makes so much sense now,” one user wrote.
“3 hours to get the ice cream machine taken apart and back…. I usually took my time,” a second recalled.
However, some alleged that Palmer’s explanation of the issues with the machine wasn’t entirely accurate.
“Shake machine one is cap,” one commenter stated. “ours used [to] randomly break, as in for a 5-10 minute period the ice cream just wouldn’t come out.”
The Daily Dot contacted McDonald’s and Palmer for comment via email.