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Raptors cost McDonald’s millions in free french fries

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ONTARIO — It appears McDonald’s has underestimated Toronto Raptors’ fans appetite for french fries in Ontario.

As part of a promotional partnership between the fast-food chain and the team, McDonald’s locations in Eastern Canada give away orders of free medium french fries whenever the Raptors hit at least 12 3-pointers in a game. According to The Financial Post, McDonald’s estimated 700,000 orders, but with the team playing so well, that number has ballooned to nearly three times the original estimate, resulting in approximately C$5.4 million (just over $4 million) worth of fries.

Chuck Coolen, head of marketing for McDonald’s in Eastern Canada, explained that the marketing plan’s initial forecast was based on a previous promotion with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and was finalized nearly a year ago — just 18 days before Demar DeRozan was traded for Kawhi Leonard last summer.

Last season, Toronto hit 12 3-pointers in 43 of 82 regular season games and five postseason games. This season, the Raptors hit the mark 44 times, plus another 10 so far during their playoff run.

Coolen said they have given away approximately 2 million orders of fries, but that number is still growing. While the final tallies for the playoffs aren’t yet available, after Game 1 of the finals alone, where the Raptors hit 13 threes, McDonald’s gave away a record 80,000 free orders.

Mike Forman, who owns four McDonald’s franchises in Whitby, Ontario, noted that while the company may be losing revenue on the free fries, they believe the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term losses. Customers must download and use the McDonald’s app to redeem their free french fries, which hopefully will keep customers invested going forward.




“We believe it will pay off in the future,” Forman told The Financial Post. — Reuters