Filed Under:  U.S. & World

No Fries Available for Venezuelan Big Mac Lovers

Contributed by on January 7, 2015 at 1:07 am

french fries - chips

MOSCOW, RUSSIA-JULY 7, 2013: McDonald’s French fries. McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries

McDonald’s restaurants in Venezuela have run out of French fries. The cause of the shortage appears to be long-standing economic issues within Venezuela, combined with a disruption of McDonald’s export process.

 

McDonald’s has announced that their French fries, which are shipped frozen from the U.S., have been stuck in port owing to a labor dispute between the company and dock workers. But no other South American countries are reporting shortages of the Big Mac’s famous sidekick.

 

Venezuelans are accustomed to shortages of imported goods, owing to the socialist government’s tight control of the bolívar, the Venezuelan currency. This control means that imported goods are extremely expensive: a Happy Meal in Venezuela ranks as the world’s most expensive, at $27. But the inflated cost of imports also drives a thriving black market for imported goods. A black market Happy Meal is only 90 cents, making it the cheapest Happy Meal in the world.

 

french fries - chips

MOSCOW, RUSSIA-JULY 7, 2013: McDonald’s French fries. McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries

As a result, most Venezuelans assumed that their own government was to blame for the fry shortage. The Venezuelan government, for their part, posted an article on a state-sponsored website claiming the shortage has nothing to do with government policy.

 

International analysts disagree. The shipping issues in the United States probably affected all the overseas areas that receive French fries. However, Venezuela was likely running closer to a shortage for some time, owing to the country’s economic policies, while other nations with less inflexible economies were apt to have larger stocks of frozen French fries in the first place.

 

Data from the US Potato Board supports this theory: Venezuela’s importing of McDonald’s frozen French fries during the first 10 months of 2014 was down 86% from the same period in 2013.

 

Fortunately, Venezuelans are not entirely out of luck. McDonald’s longtime competitor, Burger King, has announced via social media that they have fries hot and ready.