TOKYO — Is this the answer to McDonald’s problems in Japan? The “McFry Potato Chocolate Sauce”?
Yes, you read that right. French fries covered with not one but two types of chocolate sauce. It’s the fast-food chain’s latest effort to turn around its business in Japan after a slew of bad news ranging from a tooth found in the food to a shortage of fries that resulted in rationing.
This week, McDonald’s launched the “Makku Choco Poteto,” comprising a box of fries and, separately, white and chocolate sauce to squeeze over them. Because everyone knows that there’s nothing worse than soggy chocolate fries. It’s served with a fork, and a medium serving costs $2.80.
McDonald’s Japan is busily promoting its latest innovation, offering coupons to Twitter followers. “Did you try it yet,” the company asks.
So far, the reviews are not bad. The intrepid folks over at Rocket News 24 gave the sweet-and-salty taste sensation a thumbs-up.
“Without a doubt, the sauce was the prominent flavour, but with the savoury note, it didn’t taste like a dessert,” a reporter at the website wrote. “Whatever the case, we couldn’t stop putting fistfuls into our mouths, so it was definitely a winning combination!”
The “McFry Potato Chocolate Sauce” is McDonald's latest attempt to revive its flagging fortunes in Japan.
McDonald’s Japan, which is half-owned by the American parent company, in November reported a net loss of $252 million for the first nine months of last year, its worst result since the company listed in Japan in 2001, Jiji Press reported.
The losses were partly the result of a series of food safety problems that have made customers wary.
In 2014, the burger chain admitted it had been selling expired chicken from China and started getting the meat from a supplier in Thailand. Then pieces of plastic were found in Chicken McNuggets that came from Thailand.
Around the same time, a customer found a tooth in her french fries. Separately, McDonalds had to limit customers to one small packet of fries each as labor disputes at U.S. West Coast ports interfered with shipments. Could the chocolate fries revive McDonald's fortunes here? Well some customers sure are happy. On Twitter, @ Ikuchy852 declared them “delicious.”
But McDonald’s isn't betting everything on the chocolate fries. It's also running a competition, offering a $11,850 cash prize to the person who comes up with the best name for its new burger, the Asahi Shimbun reports.
The tentative name in Japanese translates roughly to “Juicy beef hamburger with hot and soft potatoes from Hokkaido, cheddar cheese and burned soy sauce-flavored special onion sauce.” Shouldn't be too hard to come up with something catchier.