The new machines, which will be rolling out in restaurants in the U.S. and Europe, will dispense more flavors than older ones and require less time to clean.
Older machines, according to McDonald's, require daily cleaning that can take up to four hours, which means during many locations' 24 hours of operation, the machines are out of use.
“We regularly service our soft-serve equipment during off-peak hours,” a spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal in January. “Customers who come in during that time may encounter a longer wait time or soft-serve dessert unavailability.”
Although McDonald's says the replacements are to make treat-making more efficient, speculation on social media has long been that customers are told the machine is broken because employees may not feel like cleaning the older machines or making the dessert at all.