Every day, the machines have to go through a four-hour heat-cleaning cycle that's broken down into 11 parts. The process involves, among many other steps, "combining a sanitizing mix with warm water, removing and rinsing seven parts, brushing clean two fixed parts for 60 seconds and wiping down the machine with a sanitized towel." When your entire business is based around "We get you your food before you're even done saying your order," this is definitely a McFlurry wrench in the Value Meal gears.
They have to strip the entire machine down to its atoms, scrub each nucleus with a fine sasquatch-hair brush, then jigsaw puzzle that s**t back together like a soldier reassembling a rifle to rebuild a device nearly as deadly. The cleaning process is usually triggered during off-peak hours, or whenever the drive-thru employee sees me pull in.
But none of this is to say that McFlurry machines aren't poorly built hunks of s**t, because they are. One McDonald's franchise consultant conducted a study which showed that there's a 25 percent chance that if a McDonald's isn't serving ice cream or ice-cream-related menu items, it's because the machines just stopped working like they're also getting paid minimum wage.
There is some good news: McDonald's has heard the complaints, and they're finally going to replace the old, busted-ass McFlurry machines with ones that don't come with self-destruct buttons.