Small Fries Only at McDonald’s in Japan Due to Export Lag

“Want small fries with that order?”

That’s what customers at McDonald’s Restaurants in Japan began hearing on December 17, as the chain has taken medium- and large-size fries off the menu until normal volume shipments from suppliers in the United States resume.

A labor dispute among dockworkers at United States West Coast container ports has slowed down outgoing and well as incoming cargo heading to and from Asia. According to the US Potato Board, transit times for ocean shipments of frozen french fries to Japan have doubled from two to four weeks.

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"Unfortunately, without this sales restriction step we would run the danger of running out of fries at some of our stores around the end of the year or beginning of the new year," said Kokoro Toyama of McDonald’s Japan.

Meanwhile the QSR chain, which has more than 3,100 units in Japan, has reportedly imported more than 1,000 tons of frozen fries by air, while routing another 1,600 tons through ports on the US East Coast.