The Fry Wars (or “Just when Jollibee was about to kick McDonald’s butt”)

Jollibee vs McDonald'sThe world loves fast food French fries, and in the Philippines, there are only two contenders: American fast food giant McDonald’s and Philippine upstart Jollibee. While general knowledge accepts that Jollibee is more popular than Mickey D’s on local shores, there was always one area where Ronald McDonald trumped the Jolly Bee: the french fry.

Recently, McDonald’s launched a larger-sized french fry option. Prior to the release of the largest size box of fries, McDonald’s and Jollibee had only two sizes: small (regular) and large. McDonald’s then decided to upsize its upsized fry offerings. In a rather confusing terminology shift, the new size, retailing for PHP55, was now called large, and the previous large was renamed medium. (Regular stayed, well, regular.) To make matters even more unusual, one could add a few pesos to a value meal to “upsize” their fries, but only enough to upsize to a medium, because one may only purchase the (now) large fries a la carte.

Jollibee followed a few weeks later, offering an option larger than large, and calling it, “extra large.” From my perspective, this was a no-brainer, but when compared to McDonald’s rather strange decision to rename its fry sizes, it seems particularly brilliant. The term “extra large” connotes more value than “large,” and offers a subliminal message that we’re getting value, no matter which we choose. (Compare this to McDonald’s terminology, which now expects us to accept that the formerly large fries are now just medium; where is the value in that?)

To top it all off, Jollibee introduces two fry dip options, cheese and salsa, for these large fries! AT PHP10 per serving, it’s a little pricey for its size, but tell that to your drooling five-year-old!

But just when you thought Jollibee had McDonald’s reeling on the ropes, lo and behold! The Ice Age 3 movie-product tie-in ushers in the return of the Golden Arches’ incomparable Twister Fries! Available for PHP55 a la carte (or PHP78 if you want a 16 oz blue-colored Sprite-powered float), Twister Fries are always a surefire bestseller at McDonald’s. If activity on Plurk is any indication, McDonald’s is firmly back in the ball game with the re-release of the Twister Fries. People are microblogging about it and returning to McDonald’s just to order it.

The Fry Wars just got hotter. What will Jollibee do now? Release its vaunted CrissCut Fries? Perhaps come up with something even more different? Will a third burger chain release a French fry that captures the local public’s imagination? Who knows what will happen next in… The Fry Wars!

Image lifted off, no copyright infringement intended.

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