McDonald’s Japan stops French fries sales

We’re all familiar with the golden arches of the McDonald’s sign, the alluring aroma of their French fries, and the warm familiarity of their restaurants, but what’s one to do when one of their key menu items – French fries – is taken away?

McDonald’s Japan has once again been hit by a French fry shortage, inciting a second stoppage of large and medium portions of French fry sales after a one week pause in December 2021. This time, however, the stoppage will last for a full month. Woe are those who worship the vaunted fry. 

McDonalds fries - emergency fries
Image credit: @_narmin_projects

French fry rationing at McDonald’s Japan

McDonald’s Japan is stopping the sale of the large and medium-sized portions of French fries in Japan due to issues in its supply network. 

According to McDonald’s Japan, exceedingly heavy snow in west Canada impeded their usual supply chain. This was in addition to delays caused by bad weather conditions in the northern Pacific. The transport of goods was further hampered by Covid-19-related staffing issues, a shortage of shipping containers, as well as instances of flooding in British Columbia, Canada.

Therefore, sales of the “Mac Fry Potato”, as McDonald’s French fries are called in Japan, were restricted to small-sized portions. The first period of rationing occurred in the last week of December 2021 and was supposed to end on the first day of 2022. 

An American company had allegedly tweeted in aid of Japanese McDonald’s fans, claiming that they were going to airlift an emergency supply of potatoes. However, these plans never came to fruition. The tweets were deleted and the rationing is slated to continue for another month. 

Fast food fans find alternative methods of obtaining enough fries

Japanese McDonald’s enthusiasts are undeterred in their quest to procure their necessary supply of French fries and have spotted a loophole in the current regulations. Although sales of large and medium-sized fries have been halted, the number of small-sized portions that one can purchase has not been restricted. 

McDonalds - French fries size
Image credit: @McDonald’sLeb

Die-hard fans have done some intense calculations based on data retrieved from the McDonald’s website. According to the website, the small-sized portion of fries weigh approximately 74g (¥150, ~USD1.30), the medium weighs 135g (¥280, ~USD2.43), and the large weighs 170g (¥330, ~USD2.86)

In order to obtain an amount akin to that of the large-sized portion, one would have to purchase two to three small-sized portions of fries. Two portions would get you 148g of fries at ¥300 (~USD2.60), while three portions would yield 222g of fries at ¥450 (~USD3.90). 

Japanese fans have concluded that they will simply purchase more portions where necessary. Of course, doing so defeats the purpose of potato rationing and will take away much needed fries from other patrons, so proceed at your own discretion. 

Netizens smell a marketing ploy 

Some disbelieving fans have put forth the theory that this whole potato crisis is nothing but a marketing ploy. They believe that the supply disruption is a falsehood used by McDonald’s to drum up sales of French fries and to create a buzz around the rest of their menu items. 

While it seems like a possible scenario, other fast food restaurants such as Kentucky Fried Chicken have also reported potato shortages. Hence, the marketing ploy conspiracy theory is likely untrue. 

McDonald’s Japan faces French fries crisis

As it might be a while more before McDonald’s fans in Japan get to properly partake in their usual amount of French fries, we international folks can only commiserate and hope that the potato crisis is solved soon. 

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Cover image adapted from: @mcdmateos 

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