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French-fry airlift gives McDonald’s Japan a brief respite during shortage crisis

McDonald’s put medium and large servings of french fries back on its Japanese menu Friday after flying in much-needed supplies, ending a weeklong restriction caused by shortages that have stymied the nation’s food industry.

As Eiki Hayashi and Risa Kawaba report for Nikkei Asia, customers had been limited to small fries at the roughly 2,900 locations, starting Dec. 24, as shipments of frozen fries from North America, already disrupted by a pandemic-driven global container shortage, took another hit from flooding near the Port of Vancouver in November.

McDonald’s Japan responded with the emergency airlift. But this could not fully make up for its usual shipments by sea — which can surpass 100,000 tons annually — forcing the company to stop serving medium and large fries.

While the restriction has been lifted for now, there is concern that McDonald’s could limit serving sizes once again, depending on inventory levels.

Aleph, operator of the Bikkuri Donkey chain, has pulled five french-fry-based dishes off the menu at 132, or around 40%, of its locations from Dec. 24 to Jan. 12.

Source: Nikkei Asia. Read the full story here
Photo: Courtesy Reuters

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