Amid production interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in America some Wendy’s stores have temporarily removed beef from the menus, according to analyst reports, and other large burger chains are eyeing their own protein supply chains with caution.
The investment bank Stifel said it conducted a random sampling of Wendy’s restaurants and determined that between 5 percent and 10 percent were only offering chicken.
Stifel explained that Wendy’s use of only never-frozen beef made the chain particularly vulnerable to supply disruption caused by the closure of beef processing plants.
“It would be accurate to say that some of our menu items may be temporarily limited at some restaurants at this time,” a Wendy’s spokesperson confirmed.
“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.”
A number of beef and other livestock processing facilities have closed temporarily either as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks at the plants, or fears of the virus spreading due to outbreaks in the communities where they operate.
Although the Trump administration has ordered those plants to reopen, social distancing measures implemented to protect the health of employees would result in reduced production.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, although less than 10 percent of the nation’s beef processing capacity is offline, most plants that are operating are doing so at between 50 percent and 75 percent of normal capacity to allow for necessary distancing between workers.
A supply chain expert at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said they expected the disruptions to be short-lived.
In the meantime popular items like the Wendy’s Bacon Cheeseburger have been put on hold at some stores with beef lovers hoping the disruptions don’t last long.