There's New Legal Drama Around McDonald’s Soft Serve Machines

McDonald’s actually puts less syrup in their drinks than some other chains.

Yes, "sez’ as Cecil himself likes to use.

Let me give it a shot, folks.
There are no managers/personnel futzing with the machines to make them lessen the amount of syrup used. The amount of syrup used is set by the corporation to be slightly lower.
Nobody is messing with it.

I started to counter with a personal anecdote, but:
a.) It was from the mid-1980’s before effective computerized inventory (at least in my store), so likely not much relevance to today and…
b.) I can’t absolutely swear they were bilking customers by turning down the calibration at the franchise I worked at, as I didn’t actually know what the proper set point was. I just suspected management of that because they acted hinky (“this one is overfeeding syrup” said very defensively) and it tasted watery as hell after they were done playing with it (“it’s supposed to taste that way!”).

Just an anecdote from the dark ages of the $3.35/hr minimum wage era :smiley: .

I don’t know anything about soda dispensers but I thought I’d heard a while back that they’re pretty easily adjustable. The reason being (even in a franchise/chain setting) that as the water lines get slow down due to mineral deposits or the filters get full of sediment, they need to adjust the water/syrup ratio otherwise they’ll end up with too much syrup due to less water being dispensed.

Here’s the manual, it’s explained on page 15. When you look at a soda dispenser, right above where you put the cup you see the big COKE/DIET COKE/SPRITE/FANTA etc picture. That pops off and there’s an adjustment for both water and syrup. I assume most machines are similar. There’s also plenty of youtube videos if you really want to go watch them.

Hey, can we get back to taking about the ice cream machine, and the dispute over whether a third party can more cheaply help the franchise fix it.

Let’s drop the hijack about soda machines, please.

Given how cheap the syrup is that the huge profit margins on soft drinks, I’m having a hard time figuring out what a manager would have to gain from fussing with the amount of syrup used. Any possibly savings would be negligible and you risk making your customers mad by giving them a familiar product that tastes funny. I’m with you on this one.

Edit: Apologies for missing the moderator’s request that we drop the soda issue.

I got bored halfway though the thread but I can’t help myself.

Suggesting that this situation is as it is because of some silly kickback or pay for play scheme is absurd. It doesn’t even pass the basic smell test of being in someone’s interest.

There’s zero chance that someone at McDs is somehow seeing a meaningful financial incentive to sell less ice cream in exchange for adding to Taylor’s service fees. McDs is a company built on data, efficiency, consistency and volume. And Taylor is like a $100M company. McDonalds couldn’t give a damn about their partnership if it meant that they weren’t able to sell ice cream.

Then it’s pure incompetence that creates a situation where they have around a 15% downtime on their icecream machines.

The situation exists, and it has not been fixed with nearly the sense of urgency that any other company would be dealing with a problem like this. This isn’t a new thing, this is something that’s been going on for quite a number of years.

Yes, and a quarter of their revenue comes from maintenance and repair.

What is the reason that you think that they are unable to solve this rather simple problem?

Franchisers have very little interest in making sure their franchises are profitable. There is a lot of demand for franchises that the parent business doesn’t have to make the franchise deal all that appealing, and all they need to do is make sure that the franchisee doesn’t bail out of the business. They don’t have to be profitable as long as they stay open and generate royalties, and in some cases, rent for the building. The franchisers effectively have a legalized protection racket, and can force the franchisees’ hands in a number of ways, all to squeeze more money out of them. This protection racket with the ice cream maintenance is just one of the many things that franchisers can do to boost their bottom line. As long as the franchisee keeps pumping the airwaves full of commercials with special promotions the franchisees must follow to stay in business, they don’t worry about losing customers who are upset about one particular product being out of order quite a lot. As long as they can force the franchisees to use specified products, they can make more money out of the entire system, and the franchisees have no hope of being successful without access to the branding.

This may be true of franchises in general, but says nothing about McDonald’s.

He doesn’t use it as a complete replacement for the word “says.” It’s a form of eye dialect, being used to indicate a certain tone of voice.

If you type “sez” into Google, the first definition is “nonstandard spelling of ‘says,’ used in representing uneducated speech.” So such usage is used to imply the speaker is uneducated or affecting a folksy manner of speaking, similar to the word “ain’t.”

This does not appear to have been your intended meaning.

What is smells like is that, in return for developing a machine specific to McD’s requirements, (note the “Taylor/McDonald” branding), that nobody else wants, that they didn’t want anybody else to have, Taylor got a contract from McD that McD would only use the new machine, and only use Taylor servicing.

A possible reason McD hasn’t just bought out the contract is that Taylor is making so much money from the service contracts, that the buy-out ask is enormous.

supposedly something like 15-25 percent of taylors revenue directly comes from fixing mcd’s machines

I just realized, are there other fast food conspiracy theories?

I subscribe to the “Big Mac was altered at some point” conspiracy, if the patty wasn’t made smaller I think they made the bun bigger because I remember being able to see the patty protrude from the bun 25 years ago.

That’s precisely why a kickback seems likely. It’s not in the company’s interests to lose sales and risk customer dissatisfaction, just for the benefit of a much smaller company. But they’re doing it anyway. So it must be for some reason other than it being in the company’s best interest. Like, say, someone at some point in the decision-making process being paid by someone other than the McDonalds company.

To be fair, it could be simple incompetence. McD’s wouldn’t be the first multibillion dollar company that can’t find its ass with both hands.

Or, ironically, it is ass covering. Somebody made the decision to go with the Taylor machine, and changing that decision admits it was wrong. Better to deny there is a problem, than to fix it.

I thought in the article I read that there was an alternative machine to the Taylor they could be using, but that it was only in a few stores, and it is too expensive to replace a mostly functioning machine with a new one. It takes lots of $2 ice cream sales to pay for a $30,000 machine (or whatever the prices).

Deciding to make that certain model of the Taylor machine the only one allowed, then making it so that only Taylor personnel can repair it isn’t a mistake that someone made-it is a deliberate move. McDonalds changes vendors and suppliers all the time, so admitting they were wrong isn’t the problem.

I’m not an expert in exclusive contracts between large corporations, but it would seem to me that if McDonalds made such a deal with the Taylor Company and it was later found out that these machines were notoriously unreliable, failing often in an auto clean cycle, requiring expensive repairs for an issue that is basically just a reset, that McDonalds could rather easily get breach of warranty damages and get out of that contract. But again, that’s just an opinion.

It could be that there is a lot over overlap in the McD’s and Middleby corporation. If that is the case, then this situation is like a “company store” racket where McD’s basically forces their franchisees to pay McD’s upper management out of their own pocket via Taylor service bills.