McDonald’s will only be offering Japanese consumers small packs of fries with their order from Wednesday.
Only 55 per cent of the monthly average volume of french fries is expected to be imported to Japan this month because of labor disputes at American West Coast ports holding up shipments.
An announcement was made on the fast-food chain’s Japanese web site alerting customers that it has had trouble keeping stable supplies of french fries.
“This is a measure we’ve decided to take because we might run out of fries. We apologise to customers for the inconvenience,” a company official told Kyodo News.
As a result meals at McDonald’s locations across Japan that usually come with medium fries will be 40 cents cheaper.
However, the chain will not be limiting the number of small packets of fries that customers can order. McDonald’s has 3,100 outlets in Japan.
There are major contract disputes in the major US ports of San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
McDonald’s has started adopting emergency measures, by airlifting supplies of frozen fries (1000 tons of them) and has placed orders for another 1600 tons to be delivered from East Coast ports, which are expected to arrive in late January.
However, these steps may not be enough.
Japan is the largest market in Asia for American frozen potato products. Japanese consume over 300,000 tons of french fries a year, most of which is consumed at fast-food restaurants, and the majority from imports of frozen, processed potatoes from the U.S., according to U.S. figures.