Wendy’s cuts burgers from menus amid meat shortage

6 May 2020

Fast-food chain Wendy’s has removed burgers from the menu at some of its restaurants as a result of meat shortages in the US. 

In a study of online menus at Wendy’s restaurants across the US analysts at Stephens Inc found almost a fifth of Wendy’s locations – 1,043 restaurants – had taken beef items off their menus.

According to CNBC, shortages varied by state with Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and New York restaurants mostly affected, while menus in other states did not indicate any supply chain issues.

The US national meat supply chain is under pressure following the closure of several processing plants in April over concerns about the spread of coronavirus. 

A Wendy’s spokesperson said: “It is widely known that beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges. We continue to supply hamburgers to all of our restaurants, with deliveries two or three times a week, which is consistent with normal delivery schedules.

“However, some of our menu items may be temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment. We’re working diligently to minimise the impact to our customers and restaurants, and continue to work with our supplier partners to monitor this closely."

Another US fast-food chain Shake Shack said while it did not expect to experience a supply issue, beef costs “have really jumped”. 

Chief financial officer Tara Comonte told investors on a first-quarter earnings call: “Over the last month, we’ve seen significant increases in beef, with the largest increase being realised over the last week.”

US meat producer Tyson told investors it expects meat supply to increase in the last two quarters of 2020, following the shutdown of plants.

CEO Noel White said: "We’re assuming that these plants, not only ours but others, will... go down for a period of time and then reopen. So we are actually looking at an increase in total protein available as we go through the balance of Q3, Q4.”

In April, Tyson’s board chairman John Tyson warned the “food supply chain is breaking”, as plants were forced to close. He added the closures posed a “serious food waste issue” in addition to meat shortages.

US president Donald Trump ordered meat processing plants to remain open to ensure the continued supply of meat.

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