|A notice on Burger King's Korean website reads that burgers will have more vegetables and sauce added to compensate for the lack of tomato slices. / Screen capture from the Burger King Korea website|
By Kim Jae-heun
Burgers from fast food brands here, including McDonald's and Burger King, will be served without tomato slices for an undetermined period due to a shortage of supply here.
This summer the country went through the longest rainy season in Korea's history, and a number of typhoons hit the peninsula, making it almost impossible for farmers to harvest enough tomatoes.
The fast food restaurants have decided to either replace the tomato slices with other ingredients or give out free drink coupons in compensation. Some are even offering to give discounts on burgers that would normally be served with tomatoes.
U.S. multinational chain Burger King posted a notice on its official website, Wednesday, saying its branches will add more sauce and vegetables to burgers if the restaurant runs out of tomato slices.
"Due to the effects of typhoons and the abnormal climate (long rainy season) this summer, we are having difficulty supplying tomatoes to our restaurants in the country. The stock of tomatoes will differ depending on the branches but many of them are running out of the ingredient. It is our first time experiencing such a situation and we do not know when we will get a stable supply," the notice said.
The situation is the same for McDonald's and Lotteria, a fast food restaurant chain owned by Lotte Corporation.
McDonald's is giving out free drink coupons at the restaurants selling burgers without tomatoes inside. Lotteria is giving price discounts.
"Tomato slices in a burger cost about 300 won, and we have decided to deduct the amount from the original price at all our restaurants starting Thursday," a Lotteria official said.
The country is facing the tomato shortage after heavy rains and typhoons struck the country for 54 days in summer. The shortage has caused the price of tomatoes to skyrocket.
According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, Thursday, the wholesale price for 10 kilograms of tomatoes was recorded at 62,660 won, which is a 110 percent increase from last month's price.
The retail price for 1 kilogram of tomatoes also rose by 57 percent to reach 7,913 won in the same period.
Compared to the prices from a year ago, the wholesale price for tomatoes soared by 115 percent per 10 kilograms and retail price by 79 percent per 1 kilogram.