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Asia Minute: McDonald's Japan is rationing french fries

Two men allegedly tried to make off with more than $2,000 at a McDonald's in Besancon, France, on Sunday.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images

Long before this year’s holiday shopping began, you started hearing about issues with global supply chains. They’ve hit everything from semiconductors and cars to consumer electronics. In Japan this week, there’s a new shortage: french fries.

Starting this Friday, you won’t be able to order a “large fries with that”… or even a “medium fries.”

McDonald's Japan announced Tuesday it would suspend the sale of all but small fries at its 2,900 locations around the country — due to “supply chain bottlenecks.”

Specifically, the company is blaming delivery delays from Canada — a backlog in Vancouver’s port.

COVID has played a role, but the main reason is recent flooding that has damaged local highways.

The Financial Times quotes a company spokesman who says that an emergency response is underway — including some deliveries of frozen french fries by air freight.

The suspension of sales of medium and large fries is to make sure that as many customers as possible can get at least some fries.

It’s not the first time McDonald's Japan has been hit with such a shortage.

In 2017, the company said a bad potato harvest in Hokkaido led to a disruption in french fry supplies.

But officials seem confident this one will be a short-term issue.

The restrictions on french fries are expected to last just under a week — with the full menu back on offer by New Year’s Eve.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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