Wendy’s runs out of beef during coronavirus-fueled meat shortage
Wendy's is dealing with a beef problem.(Shutterstock)
The originator of the slogan, “Where’s the beef?" is now asking itself that very question — and so are its customers.
Meat processors have been warning that there will be a shortage as plants close when workers fall sick amid the coronavirus pandemic, and now it has come to pass. Wendy’s stopped selling burgers in some locations because it is having problems sourcing meat.
Nearly one in five Wendy’s are not serving hamburgers and other meat-based items as 18% of them — about 1,000 of the chain’s 5,500 restaurants across the U.S. — run out of their main ingredient, reported CNN.
Part of the reason it’s hitting Wendy’s first is that it relies more on fresh beef than some of its competitors do, an analyst told CNN. Wendy’s confirmed the issue, and customers did too — via Twitter.
“As you’ve likely read, there have been challenges among protein suppliers across North America,” Heidi Schauer, a Wendy’s spokesperson, told the trade publication Restaurant Business. “We are working closely with our supplier partners and restaurant teams to minimize the impact to our customers and continue to monitor this closely.”
California, South Carolina and Kentucky are the states where this is most visible, as “Today” reported. Hundreds of restaurants in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and New York are also finding themselves out of beef, CNBC reported.
While other fast food chains — most notably Burger King and McDonald’s — said they haven’t yet been affected, the possibility is looming. Beef production is down about 25% from last year, according to Restaurant Business, and prices have soared, CNBC reported Monday.
"What you see with this is less supplies and higher prices,” Texas A&M University agricultural economics professor David Anderson told “Today.” “Whether we’re talking beef, pork, chicken, lamb, whatever your favorite is, we are already seeing really skyrocketing prices at wholesale for meat.”
Wendy’s shortages are related to their stores’ proximity to temporarily shuttered processing plants, analyst James Rutherford told CNN. Meanwhile, he said in a note to investors, the chain is beefing up its chicken offerings.