Jakarta. At least 20 outlets of American fast food chain McDonald’s in Jakarta were ordered to close temporarily on Wednesday due to a mad rush for a special menu that took a theme from South Korean boy band BTS.
Local authorities said the crowded McDonald’s outlets could increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission and a lack of preventive measures by the management could amount to violation to health protocols.
Most customers bought the special meal through delivery service offered by ride-hailing companies, whose drivers packed McDonald’s restaurants as a result.
“Those restaurants are ordered to close for 24 hours or facing a Rp 50 million ($3,500) fine,” Chief Commissioner Attendant Kade Budiyarta, the head of the Gambir Police Office in Central Jakarta, told reporters.
“McDonald’s promotion has invited a large number of deliverymen and they formed large crowds in those restaurants. We are in the middle of a pandemic and they should have thought of ways to implement health protocols properly,” he added.
In addition to the 20 outlets, 12 other McDonald’s restaurants were slapped with written reprimand, Jakarta Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria said separately.
There are only two McDonald’s outlets in the capital that eluded sanctions.
“Because of unusually large crowds, Municipal Police personnel were deployed to disperse them and close those restaurants for 24 hours,” Ahmad said.
McDonald’s Indonesia urged customers to refrain from rushing for the BTS meal, saying it will be available for a month.
“The BTS meal is not for today only, it is available for a month. Customers don’t need to rush out for the BTS meal or feel worry about not getting it,” Sutji Lantyka, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement.
“We appreciate growing public enthusiasm for the BTS meal. Regarding the temporary closure of our several outlets, customers’ safety is always a priority for McDonald’s Indonesia,” she said.
The BTS meal comprises fries, chicken nuggets and a drink, with “limited-time sauces picked by BTS and inspired by McDonald’s South Korea”, according to the company.
In the Indonesian edition, the meal is wrapped with collectible purple paper bag to reflect the theme color of the seven-member band.
For most buyers, the meal is not what they really want to buy.
Used BTS meal packages immediately became hot commodities on online trading platforms targeting teenagers.
One seller on Tokopedia offers a used package for Rp 850,000.
“What matters for me is the package, they will add to my collection of BTS merchandises. Fries and nuggets are just the bonus,” according to Anggi, an 18-year-old girl from Duren Sawit, East Jakarta.
She and older sister Dea came to a McDonald’s restaurant for the BTS meal carrying plastic containers, into where they immediately moved fries and nuggets from the packages.
“We have to clean the packages from oil because they will be put on display,” Dea said.