SINGAPORE- The overnight queues that used to sprout up when McDonald’s released new limited edition toys here were nowhere to be seen on Thursday, when the fast-food giant launched its Pikachu carrier.

Short queues began to form at some restaurants about 30 minutes to an hour before the 11am launch, though McDonald’s employees had put up queue poles as early as two hours prior in anticipation of crowds.

When The Straits Times visited several McDonald’s outlets across the island on Thursday morning, there was no hive of activity beyond the usual breakfast crowd.

While some customers had intended to queue overnight for the holders modelled in the likeness of the iconic electric mouse, the restaurant’s employees encouraged them to return in the morning as queue tickets would be given out closer to 11am.

At around 10am, some customers could be seen inquiring about the release and joining the queue at McDonald’s outlets such as those at Jem shopping mall in Jurong and at Ang Mo Kio Hub.

At Jem, the first person in line was a 36-year-old engineering lecturer from Singapore Polytechnic who wanted to be known only as Ms Yu.

She was at the outlet at 9am, but there was no one else in line.

Ms Yu, who had previously collected the Hello Kitty and My Melody carriers, said: “It’s already past 10am and there’s no one. It seems like Pikachu isn’t as popular as Hello Kitty.” 

“Personally, I love Pikachu. I can do without My Melody and Hello Kitty, but I must have the Pikachu (carrier).”

Ms Yu said she did not expect the queue to be as long as for the earlier carriers, but did not think it would be so quiet either.

“But it’s a good thing. If people started queueing at 4am or 5am, I would have to buy on Carousell,” she said, referring to the online marketplace.

At the Hillion mall outlet, self-professed Pokemon and Pikachu fan Chu Yu Hui was the first in line, having arrived at the restaurant at 9.30am.

The 26-year-old student care teacher likewise said she had expected longer queues.

Behind her was Mr Rizal Rahman, a 43-year-old who works in the IT industry.

“There’s not a lot of people (here), but it could be because people are mostly working from the office instead of working from home nowadays,” he said.

At the Ang Mo Kio Hub outlet, restaurant staff said they had 387 sets, and that stocks would not be replenished once they were sold out.