McDonald’s sued for $ 900M by company that worked to fix broken ice cream machines

A startup called Kytch that worked to fix broken ice cream machines at McDonald’s has filed a massive lawsuit against the fast-food chain, according to Wired.

The startup’s cofounders, Melissa Nelson and Jeremy O’Sullivan, are requesting no less than $ 900 million in damages.

Kytch’s lawsuit was long-awaited. They are alleging McDonald’s had engaged in false advertising, among other schemes, Wired reported.

Since 2019, Kytch says there was a device the size of a phone meant to be installed inside broken McDonald’s ice cream machines. Those devices would then intercept the ice cream machines’ internal communications and send signals out to a smartphone or web device to help store owners fix their machines.

But things turned sour for Kytch and McDonald’s in November 2020, when the fast-food chain sent an email requesting that all franchises remove the device from their machines.

McDonald’s claimed Kytch’s product violated the machine’s warranties, “intercepted confidential information” and even had the ability to “lead to serious human injury.”

“Nothing is more important to us than food quality and safety, which is why all equipment in McDonald’s restaurants is thoroughly vetted before it’s approved for use,” a McDonald’s spokesperson said in a statement to Wired. “After we learned that Kytch’s unapproved device was being tested by some of our franchisees, we held a call to better understand what it was and subsequently communicated a potential safety concern to franchisees. There’s no conspiracy here. ”

Kytch denied the human injury claim, calling it “defamatory.”

Nelson claimed the emails did not just result in broken ice cream machines, but also resulted in lagging sales for the startup right as it was taking off.

“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, ”Nelson told Wired. McDonald’s had every reason to know that Kytch was safe and did not have any issues. It was not dangerous, as they claimed. And so we’re suing them. ”

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Katherine Rodriguez can be reached at krodriguez@njadvancemedia.com. Have a tip? Tell us at nj.com/tips.

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