Kytch, a startup that makes ice cream machine monitoring devices, sued McDonald’s on March 1, alleging false advertising and tortious interference with its business.
In a lawsuit filed by Kytch on March 1, McDonald’s is accused of having sent emails to franchisees saying that Kytch devices violated the machines’ warranties and intercepted their confidential information.
McDonald’s is also alleged to have said the device posed a safety threat and could lead to “serious human injury.”
Kytch, which provides remote controls, maintenance, and other tools for ice cream machines, describes both claims as false and defamatory. Its lawsuit is also critical of Taylor Company, which is the chain’s main provider of ice cream machines.
Kytch’s co-founders, Melissa Nelson and Jeremy O’Sullivan, are seeking $900 million in damages and as well as defamation, have accused McDonald’s of false advertising and interference in its contracts with customers, per the lawsuit.
In a statement sent to Insider, McDonald’s said it “owes it to our customers, crew, and franchisees to maintain our rigorous safety standards and work with fully vetted suppliers in that pursuit. Kytch’s claims are meritless, and we’ll respond to the complaint accordingly.”
After learning that Kytch’s unauthorized device was being used at some McDonald’s restaurants, the fast-food chain said it sent a warning to franchisees regarding the possibility of crew or maintenance staff being injured. This was due to the remote-operating system Kytch enables in their soft-serve machines, the company said.
McDonald’s said that the safety certifications mentioned in Kytch’s complaint do not meet the robust requirements the chain has for all equipment in its restaurants. According to McDonald’s, there were many different scenarios that could result in possible injury, which it said that Kytch had not addressed.
Kytch did not respond to Insider’s request for comment, made outside of normal working hours.
According to McBroken, a website tracking the chain’s broken ice cream machines, 12.57% of machines are currently out of use, with 36.73% not working in New York.
Despite the reportedly widespread issues surrounding ice cream machines, “McDonald’s has failed to meaningfully improve the machines, and the fast-food giant has even granted Taylor exclusive rights to supply kitchen appliances to more than 13,000 retail locations in the United States,” the lawsuit alleged.
It added: “This arrangement generates millions of dollars of revenue for Taylor and its network of franchised distributors.”
Just fix the machines.