Photo: SoraNews24
business

As McDonald’s Japan restricts French fry sales, rival boosts its fry sizes by 25%, at no extra cost

42 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

These are dark days for French fry fans in Japan. In December, McDonald’s Japan announced that it would be suspending sales of all French fry orders except smalls due to a potato shortage, and though they promised this would only last a few days, the chain has now said that the rationing will be continuing.

The sound of the resulting cries of sadness and rumbling of stomachs has apparently reached the ears of rival Japanese fast food chain Freshness Burger, and they’ve decided to declare themselves Japan’s spud saviors with a promotion simply called “We’ve Got Potatoes!”

▼ The potatoes that Freshness Burger has

FB-2.jpg

As the name implies, Freshness Burger wants everyone to know that they’ve got plenty of French fry ingredients on hand, and they’re not afraid to use them. So from now until Feb 27, Freshness Burger will be increasing the amount of French fries in its regular and large-size orders, as well as its combo meals, by 25 percent. What they won’t be increasing, though, is the cost to customers, as all prices will stay exactly the same – you just get a larger potato portion.

FB-3.jpg

But how is Freshness Burger able to keep its French fries flowing while McDonald’s isn’t able to meet demand? Because of where the two chains’ potatoes come from. McDonald’s potato rationing was triggered by flood damage at the port of Vancouver and pandemic-related international shipping difficulties, since it gets its potatoes from North America. Freshness Burger, on the other hand, sources its potatoes domestically, from Japan’s northern prefecture of Hokkaido, meaning it doesn’t have to worry about the infrastructure and international border crossings headaches that McDonald’s is dealing with.

After spending the last few weeks having to adjust to fewer French fries than normal, this sudden change of fortune for Japanese fry fans was cause for celebration on Twitter:

“This makes me like Freshness Burger even more. They’re expensive, but their food is really good.”

“Freshness Burger makes my favorite fries, so I’m definitely going to go get some now.”

“They wait until you place your order to start cooking the fries.”

“More fries is nice and all, but I’d rather they build more branches.”

“More fries! This is awesome! So, where’s the nearest branch? I can’t remember…”

As alluded to in the comments, Yokohama-based Freshness Burger doesn’t have anywhere close to the number of locations that McDonald’s does. They’re not exactly rare, but you’re not as likely to randomly bump into one as you will the Golden Arches, and several prefectures don’t have any Freshness Burger branches at all.

Freshness Burger is slightly on the pricy side for fast food in Japan. A large order of fries will cost you 380 yen at Freshness Burger, compared to 280 at McDonald’s, and Freshness Burger’s 540-yen Classic Burger is 150 yen more expensive than a Bic Mac.

▼ Freshness Burger’s Classic Burger

FB-6.jpg
Photo: Freshness Burger

McDonald’s larger quantity needs and lower menu prices are probably both reasons why they chose to import their potatoes rather than use domestic supplies, since North American agricultural organizations tend to have better economies of scale than Japanese growers. But factor in 25 percent more fries, and Freshness Burger is by no means a bad deal, and now we wish they’d start offering hash browns too.

*Sources: PR Times, *Twitter

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Hash browns disappear from McDonald’s Japan branches as country’s potato shortage continues

-- McDonald’s Japan’s French fry rationing extended for about another month

-- Survey ranks Japan’s most popular fast food chains, McDonald’s surprisingly not No. 1

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
Login to comment

My brother got a French fry machine, you put in potato and it cut the potatoes into fries

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is why you need competitors and more rival companies. It benefits us more when they compete.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Smart move. The press exposure is worth millions in advertising.

Give the guy who thought of this a day off and a raise!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

You can airfry French fries, they still are crisp, potatoes are the core of a Irish stew, I making tortillas soup, with ground chicken, black beans, corn, topped with rice and sour cream Google Tortilla Soup

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So today is Freshness Burger's turn for free advertising?

I've never had one but they do look exceedingly good.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Although few and far between, I love Freshness Burger! Who remembers their lasagne burger? Awesome!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I like healthy food. But that's just me.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Perhaps they aught to try chips instead.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

YrralToday 07:27 am JST

You can airfry French fries, they still are crisp, potatoes are the core of a Irish stew, I making tortillas soup, with ground chicken, black beans, corn, topped with rice and sour cream Google Tortilla Soup

This. An air fryer, some good fresh potatoes and bit of salt. Perfect. Oh, add about a teaspoon of oil. IT will taste great and very, very low fat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The moral of this story: increase food self-sufficiency rate and stop depending on imports. When there’s a global food shortage, even your closest allies won’t help you.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Congratulations!” to Freshness Burger (1992) for taking the smart business advantage during ‘a rough patch’ for McDonalds. Just 4 days ago, Mac also announced the suspension of the breakfast “hashed brown” patties. - Bleak.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Agree with @zichi 7:02am. These are more “chips” at FreshnessBurger than “fries”. As @MrKipling 7:59am suggests, wish there was a “link” here with their locations in Japan to go with their ‘advertising”.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

McDonald's ...useless.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I just ordered three small orders of fries instead of my one large at McD's last night.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Shrewd marketing move...too bad their burgers are about 25% smaller than they should be.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I’m not sure it s accurate to describe Freshness Burger and McDonalds as competitors, they seem to specialize in different product lines. Freshness Burger sells food that is actually edible.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I STOPPED eating at McDonalds forever.

I was coming for fries but I can't deal with that incompetence.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Wow, I AM SWITCHING, goodbye Mac.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Also forgot to mention these fries are UNPROCESSED and looks more natural.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Get used to it. Everything will be more expensive from now on.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Freshness Burger do to potatoes what should be done and that is cut them nice and thick!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Never liked Freshness Burger and never understood the allure. Don’t like any of the Japanese burger chains at all, but on the other hand I do love The Independent burger shops in Japan and many of them make some fantastic burgers and great fries as well and will blow all of these chain stores away. Fukuoka, we have “Hungry Heaven” just can’t be beat! Giant burgers and juicy savory fries.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I stopped eating at McDonalds about five years ago and now I feel and look like a super male model.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Shake shack number 1 !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Never liked Freshness Burger and never understood the allure. Don’t like any of the Japanese burger chains at all, but on the other hand I do love The Independent burger shops in Japan and many of them make some fantastic burgers and great fries as well and will blow all of these chain stores away. Fukuoka, we have “Hungry Heaven” just can’t be beat! Giant burgers and juicy savory fries.

I tend to agree with this. Freshness Burger only looks decent if you are comparing it to truly awful fast food chains like McDonalds. Compared to a decent independent restaurant that specializes in burgers, it’s not very good. I used to live in Fukuoka and remember there being a few good places in the Daimyo area that had great burgers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A masterpiece of creative writing ! I had as much fun reading it as perhaps the author did writing it !

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not bad that Freshness burger, my partner loves it. Plenty of decent independent burger places round Osaka though, tried quite a few, most are a pretty high standard.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Very nice, look much fresher and better than fast food trash.

I hope people realize McDonald is putting a marketing stunt and has nothing to do with reality.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

How I miss proper burgers and fast food on Europe and America.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I have never, ever, been inside any fast food place. I must be unique ....lol!...:)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They’re not the same McDonald’s fries are the best. Freshness’s are like Subway’s, soggy in the middle.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Also forgot to mention these fries are UNPROCESSED and looks more natural.

potatoes wedges with the skin still on, just wash them cut them fry them in cholesterol free oil like grapeseed or olive oil , taste the best

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They’re not the same McDonald’s fries are the best. Freshness’s are like Subway’s, soggy in the middle.

fries are cut that way so they can cook quickly, natural wedges fried slowly at low heat crap all over fries, ive never have them soggy in the middle

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Burger King is better than Freshness and Macdonald's ....also better than Shake Shack which has small over priced burgers.

Burger king everytime for me!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The perks of sourcing domestic ingredients rather than shipping them from across the world.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wait wait wait……..

we have other options!?!??

nobody told us that!!!

i thought the only place to eat fries was at McDonald’s!???

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It’s not that one chain is better than another! Humans are different and they prefer different chains! Some like McDonald’s, some MOS Burgers, others like Freshness Burger while some prefer independent Burger shops. Personally, I think many independent burger shops in Tokyo are crap as they are overpriced and taste worst than the fast food chains! Better to make a nice burger at home. But that’s just my opinion and others feel differently.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Come to think of it McDonald’s might just be trying to make more profit by selling small fries instead of the lager ones ( larger size has lower profit margins ). Some people might be buying 2 or three small fries now so that increases their sales. All companies are blaming the corona virus pandemic when infected they should have come up with plan B and C in the past two years!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Typo… infected ~ in fact

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites