McDonald’s restaurants in Venezuela will no longer be asking the quintessential fast-food question: “Would you like fries with that?” Instead, they may be asking customers if they’d like deep-fried arepa flatbreads or yucca, two alternative sides that are part of the local cuisine. That’s because McDonald’s in Venezuela is experiencing a french fry shortage.
More than 100 McDonald’s franchises are offering the alternative sides after running out of potatoes, according to the Associated Press. The company that runs Latin American McDonald’s, Arcos Dorados, declined to comment in the AP story as to why other Latin American countries’ franchises weren't affected with a shortage.
Confirmed: McDonald's is out of French fries in Venezuela
â€” Hannah Dreier (@hannahdreier) January 6, 2015
The problem isn’t only happening to McDonald’s golden fries and is likely the result of the countries’ currency controls, which makes subsidized rates for dollars and importing difficult, according to the AP story. Venezuela imported only 14 percent of the frozen fries during the first 10 months of 2014 that it did during the same time frame the year before.
This isn't the first time an international McDonald's chain has had a french fry supply and demand issue. Restaurants in Japan had to ration their fries because of a potato shortage last month.
McDonald’s has a troubled history in Venezuela. In 2008, Venezuela shut almost all McDonald’s stores for two days because of what they considered to be sales inconsistencies. In 2013, Venezuela had the most expensive Big Mac in the world, costing more than $9, according to the Economist “Big Mac” index. A year later, McDonald’s agreed to cut the price of that combo.
McDonald’s first started offering the local alternatives for fries in September 2014, as well as coleslaw. A quick look at McDonald’s Venezuelan website shows french fries are still an option -- sadly for Venezuelans walking into local stores, though, that isn’t the case.