(NEXSTAR) – Jack in the Box is trying to hit McDonald’s right where it hurts — in its ice cream machines.
Earlier this week, Jack in the Box took a jab at McDonald’s on TikTok, in a video which opened on a not-so-censored image of a McDonald’s restaurant.
“We heard someone’s ice cream machine was broken,” reads an on-screen message. “Can’t relate, but good luck!”
Just as the final words flash across the screen, a Jack in the Box milkshake appears in the frame, blocking the McDonald’s in the background.
“Broken ice cream machine? Never heard of that at Jack in the Box,” reads a caption accompanying the video. “Slide thru besties we’ve gotchu covered with shakes & desserts.”
Jack in the Box’s post appeared to be alluding to reports of the soft-serve ice cream machines at McDonald’s frequently being broken, down, or otherwise out of service — a problem that even McDonald’s has acknowledged on occasion.
The issue had allegedly become so widespread in 2020 that a software engineer named Rashiq Zahid used the McDonald’s app to reverse-engineer a resource to identify restaurants with broken machines. Called McBroken, the platform also tracked the percentages of McDonald’s locations with out-of-service machines. (It’s unclear whether McBroken was still reporting accurate information as of July 2021. On Saturday morning, the McBroken site indicated that just over 10% of all McDonald’s ice cream machines were nonfunctioning.)
Upon its debut in 2020, however, Zahid had earned kudos on his platform from David Tovar, the chief U.S. corporate relations officer for McDonald’s.
“Only a true @McDonalds fan would go to these lengths to help customers get our delicious ice cream! So, thanks!” Tovar tweeted. “We know we have some opportunities to consistently satisfy even more customers with sweet treats and we will.”
Following Jack in the Box’s accusations this week, McDonald’s again acknowledged its customers’ frustration with out-of-service machines.
“Our fans deserve to enjoy McDonald’s cool, creamy soft serve whenever the craving strikes,” McDonald’s USA wrote in a statement shared with Nexstar. “We’ve built a dedicated team to help ensure peak performance of our soft serve machines, and some of their solutions have already begun to roll out in restaurants — like new training resources for crew and maintenance ‘check-ups’ for the machines to keep them running smoothly. We won’t stop until we get this right for our customers.”