McDonald's fries return to Venezuela but cost a pretty penny for locals
Economic policies have made the price nearly a tenth of the country's monthly minimum wage
Venezuelans missing the salty taste of McDonald's french fries can line up at their nearest golden arches, but could be in store for some sticker shock after they place their order. The country's economic policies have made the price nearly a tenth of the country's monthly minimum wage.
The fries were reintroduced to the South American nation after a 10-month absence with a social media ad. The campaign didn't mention the increased cost, however.
Llegó el día, te esperamos! <a href="https://t.co/FlmCTXMzrl">pic.twitter.com/FlmCTXMzrl</a>—@McDonaldsVen
While the item in the picture is obvious, its return was in doubt.
Venezuela, which has multiple official currency controls on its bolivars on top of the black market, has struggled economically. Policies put in place by President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor Hugo Chavez have been cited as the source for various shortages, including toilet paper.
The currency exchange shows how expensive the fries can be, as a large costs roughly $166 using the strongest official rate. But using the black market exchange rate lowers the cost — significantly. Fusion writes that a large portion would only cost $1.15 US at the black market rate.
McDonald's tried replacing potato-based french fries with fried cassava back in January, but many people didn't like the new taste. The tweet below reads, "When I only want McDonald's fries, and they only have cassava there."
Cuando solo quiero papitas de McDonalds y lo que hay es yuca. <a href="http://t.co/lWoXLDONUc">pic.twitter.com/lWoXLDONUc</a>—@kekalaM
Not that the campaign affected the opinions of numerous people on Twitter who as recently as last week were lamenting the loss of their precious fries. In the tweet below, a man wrote that they wanted to time travel back to when McDonald's had french fries.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MaquinaDelTiempoLlevameA?src=hash">#MaquinaDelTiempoLlevameA</a> cuando habían papitas fritas en mcdonalds en Venezuela.—@outsidekorns
McDonald's new solution is using Venezuelan potatoes, though the shift means their regular fries (at 500 bolivars) and the large each cost more than a McDuos — a combo meal that is just a hamburger and a drink. The McDuos is only 440 bolivars.
Neither item is cheap though, as the current monthly minimum wage is still just over 9,600 bolivars, according to Bloomberg.
So while some are happy that their french fries have simply been returned to them, others view the expense as a illustration of the current economic state of the country.
"You know your country is a global punchline when this is an actual story in the news," writes the Caracas Chronicle.
A warning to those looking for an expensive taste-test — the spokeswoman for the company that manages McDonald's in Latin America said to the Associated Press that they're not the same french fries as before. This batch has a "new flavour, specially made in Venezuela."