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Muted response at McDonald’s outlets for Hello Kitty toy on first day of sales

SINGAPORE — Gone were the overwhelming crowds and bouts of chaos. The launch of the new series of Hello Kitty stuffed toys at McDonald’s outlets in Singapore today (April 28) was met with a somewhat muted response.

SINGAPORE — Gone were the overwhelming crowds and bouts of chaos. The launch of the new series of Hello Kitty stuffed toys at McDonald’s outlets in Singapore today (April 28) was met with a somewhat muted response.

When TODAY visited the fast food chain’s outlets at Ang Mo Kio, Causeway Point and Lucky Plaza, there were only a handful of people queuing for the first installation of the new Hello Kitty Bubbly World series during peak hours, and the queues were quickly dispersed as cashiers readily took the orders. Crowd control barriers were set up — needlessly, as it turned out

The queue for the plush toy at the Ang Mo Kio Park outlet only started at about 10.50am, a mere 10 minutes before sales started. Five minutes before the launch, about 10 people were in queue.

When TODAY visited the outlet at AMK Hub at around 1pm, many were queuing for food but none had lined up for vouchers to buy Hello Kitty dolls at the crowd control barrier outside the outlet. Over at Causeway Point at around 1.45pm, there was also no queue at the retractable tape barrier outside the outlet. It was the same sight at the McDonald’s outlet in Lucky Plaza, with no one queuing to get a Hello Kitty voucher when TODAY visited in the afternoon.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said while there were longer queues at a number of heartland stores such as Tampines and Tiong Bahru, “our restaurants generally report that queues moved in an orderly manner and that transactions were smooth”.

Enhanced queue systems and having more staff on duty have improved service speed, “allowing us to clear queues much faster”, the spokesperson said.

One reason for the dampened response could be the launch last Wednesday of the online ordering platform, which allowed Hello Kitty fans to place pre-orders for the entire collection of all six designs and have it delivered right to their doorsteps. The response to the online initiative was so overwhelming that the fast food giant had to stop taking online orders after about one-and-a-half hours. Online sales resumed at around 7pm on the same day

“We’re expecting fewer crowds at the outlets since the stuffed toys are now made available online,” said a McDonald’s staff today. “Online sales have been great too.”

“Response to the online sale has been very good and to-date, close to 30 per cent of the total number of Hello Kitty plush toys available have already been snapped up via our online platform,” said the McDonald’s spokesperson.

“Our main focus this year has been on improving the overall customer experience, and on making it easier for both die-hard Hello Kitty collectors and regular customers to get their hands on a complete set of Hello Kitty plush toys.”

Among the people in the brief queues were the Hello Kitty fanatics, doting parents and devoted boyfriends.

“I grew up with Hello Kitty,” said Ms Chen Ya Lian, a customer who purchased two Hello Kitty dolls. “I’ll buy them every time McDonald’s launch a new series.”

“We’re buying the dolls for our girlfriends,” said Mr Adrin Jamil and Mr Muhammad Akbar Moonshi Nasiruddin. “And we’ll buy the other designs when we visit McDonald’s again.”

Ms Linda Goh, who brought her two-and-a-half year old grandson to McDonald’s at Ang Mo Kio Park, said she bought the stuffed toy because she “used to buy the toys McDonald’s launched” for her son. “I bought them also because I like them,” she added.

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