McDonald’s has been sued for $900 million by a company called Kytch which created a product to fix McDonald's broken ice cream machines.
However, WIRED reported that the food joint reportedly ordered the devices to be removed in November 2020.
The emails referenced in the lawsuit say that McDonald's removed the devices from their machines, violated their warranties, intercepted confidential information, and risked causing serious human injury.
After the devices were removed, Kytch witnessed a drop in sales and filed a lawsuit on March 1, where it accused McDonald’s of false advertising and wrongfully interfering with its contracts with customers. They also claimed that the restaurant chain defamed Kytch’s name.
While speaking to WIRED, co-founder Melissa Nelson said,
“They’ve tarnished our name. They scared off our customers and ruined our business. They were anti-competitive. They lied about a product that they said would be released. McDonald’s had every reason to know that Kytch was safe amd didn’t have any issues. It was not dangerous, like they claimed. And so we’re suing them.”
Reasons behind Kytch's lawsuit against McDonald's
Melissa Nelson and Jeremy O’Sullivan created Kytch, a device similar to a mobile phone included inside machines making milkshakes, ice cream cones, and McFlurry sold at McDonald’s.
The machines were sold to McDonald's for $18,000 per piece. However, customers were later frustrated due to frequent technical malfunctions in the device.
Melissa and Jeremy tried to fix it by attaching the device to the machine. It would intercept the machine’s internal communication and send it through WiFi to a smartphone or web interface, where owners could fix the issue.
Kytch soon became famous among McDonald’s owners until the parent company interfered. Owners were warned that the device violated the warranties of ice cream machines and posed a risk of serious human injury.
The restaurant owner told McDonald's franchisees not to use the Kytch devices in November 2020 which led to a fall in the latter’s sales. Kytch had previously sued Taylor in 2021 after they reportedly acquired one of their devices and reverse-engineered it to create their product.
Taylor later denied that they had a copy of Kytch’s device or that they wanted to steal their technology.
Kytch’s founders said that they sued Taylor to make way for legal action against McDonald’s since the information revealed during the litigation could strengthen their case. According to Kytch’s developers, the documents handed over by Taylor disclosed that it was McDonald’s spearheading the drive to prevent the franchise owners from using the device.
The Federal Trade Commission had previously investigated McDonald’s broken ice cream machines after they became a topic of jokes on late-night television and social media.
The machines account for around 60% of the McDonald’s dessert sales in the US and the chain has issued a statement saying that Kytch’s claims are meritless.