April 25th, 2024

McDonald’s apologizes for global system outage that shut down some stores for hours

By Courtney Bonnell, The Associated Press on March 15, 2024.

A McDonald's employee bows in front of its store amid the company's system outages in Tokyo, Friday, March 15, 2024. Reports of system outages at McDonald's are growing around the world, shuttering restaurants and leading to social media complaints. McDonald's in Japan posted on X, formerly Twitter, that “operations are temporarily out at many of our stores nationwide."(Kyodo News via AP)

LONDON (AP) – McDonald’s apologized Friday for a global technology outage that shuttered some restaurants for hours.

The company said the outage was caused by a third-party technology provider and was not a cybersecurity issue. It started around 12 a.m. CDT during a configuration change and was close to being resolved about 12 hours later, the Chicago-based company said.

“Reliability and stability of our technology are a priority, and I know how frustrating it can be when there are outages. I understand that this impacts you, your restaurant teams and our customers,” Brian Rice, the company’s global chief information officer, said in a statement.

“What happened today has been an exception to the norm, and we are working with absolute urgency to resolve it. Thank you for your patience, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused,” the statement added.

The company said the outage also wasn’t related to its shift to Google Cloud as a technology provider. In December, McDonald’s announced a multi-year partnership with Google that will move restaurant computations from servers into the cloud. The partnership is designed to speed up tasks like ordering at kiosks and to help managers optimize staffing.

Earlier Friday, McDonald’s in Japan posted on X, formerly Twitter, that “operations are temporarily out at many of our stores nationwide,” calling it “a system failure.” In Hong Kong, the chain said on Facebook that a “computer system failure” knocked out orders online and through self-serve kiosks.

Downdetector, an outage tracker, also reported a spike in problems with the McDonald’s app over several hours.

Some McDonald’s restaurants were operating normally again after the outage, with people ordering and getting their food Friday at locations in Bangkok, Milan and London.

A worker at a restaurant in Bangkok said the system was down for about an hour, making it impossible to take online or credit card payments but allowing it to still accept cash for orders.

At another location in Thailand’s capital, there was plywood over a door with a sign saying, “Technicians are updating the system,” even as customers were ordering again and paying digitally.

A worker at a Milan restaurant noted that the system was offline for a couple of hours and a technician walked them through getting it back up and running.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s in Denmark said the “technology failure” was resolved there and restaurants were open.

Media outlets reported that customers from Australia to the U.K. had complained of issues with ordering, including a customer in Australia who posted a photo to X saying a kiosk was unavailable.

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AP journalists Jintamas Saksornchai and David Cohen in Bangkok, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark; Kelvin Chan in London; Colleen Barry in Milan; and Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo contributed.

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