- Jorge Silva/Reuters
McDonald’s has stopped selling Big Macs in Venezuela, according to an Agence France-Presse report earlier this week.
The fast-food giant reportedly is no longer able to source the slice of bread that goes between the two meat patties, AFP reports, citing Venezuelan media.
“McDonald’s Venezuela is working to resolve this temporary situation,” Daniel Schleiniger, a spokesman for Arcos Dorados, which operates McDonald’s restaurants throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, wrote in an emailed statement to Business Insider.
“Together with our supplier, we are evaluating the best options that will allow us to continue serving high quality food to our customers. For the moment, we offer other menu options such as the Quarter Pounder, CBO and McNífica, among others,” he said.
This isn’t the first time that a McDonald’s item has gone off the menu in Venezuela. In January 2015, numerous franchises ran out of potatoes, prompting restaurants to replace french fries with alternative options like yuca fries. French fries were eventually brought back in late 2015 – but with a hefty price tag.
Things have gotten so bad that Venezuela even temporarily opened its borders to Colombia two weekends in a row so that over 100,000 Venezuelans could enter the country to buy necessary goods like food and medicine. Demand for sugar and toilet paper was reportedly particularly high.
- REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez
Venezuela, an OPEC member and keeper of the largest oil reserves in the world, heavily relies on the commodity for its export revenues. The combination of years of economic mismanagement and the huge slump in oil prices over the last two years has now left the country in a difficult situation.
And the country’s economic future is not looking very bright. Both the International Monetary Fund and World Bank estimate that its gross domestic product will shrink by about 10% in 2016.
Moreover, the IMF recently forecast that consumer-price inflation could hit 480% this year and climb to a mind-blowing 1,640% in 2017. According to the Misery Index, which adds the unemployment rate and the annual inflation rate of a given country, this will likely once again make Venezuela the most “miserable” country in the world.
“Perhaps no country in OPEC has suffered such a severe economic shock amid the collapse in oil prices as Venezuela,” RBC Capital Markets’ Helima Croft wrote back in February.
“Political challenges and mounting debt continue to stress an already challenging situation, and there appears to be no end in sight,” she added in May.