DUBLIN, Ohio – The effects of the national meat shortage are wide reaching and some fast-food chains are now being impacted. Ironically, it seems Wendy’s is one of the companies that has been hit hardest.
One in five Wendy’s locations is out of beef, according to an analysis of online menus obtained by CNN and CNBC. The analysis conducted by financial firm Stephens shows that about 1,000 of the chain’s 5,500 locations in the U.S. are not serving hamburgers or other beef-based items.
Customers are using the restaurant’s “where’s the beef?” slogan against them on social media as they learn of the restrictions.
— Amber Olivas (@amberlyno) May 4, 2020
The firm says Wendy’s is likely “more exposed” to the shortage sparked by the coronavirus pandemic because of the company’s reliance on fresh beef as opposed to frozen products, used by some of its competitors.
In a statement sent to CNN and CNBC, Wendy’s spokeswoman Heidi Schauer said the company’s supply levels have been tight, but they’re working to minimize the impact on its customers and they’re monitoring the issue.
“It is widely known that beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges,” said Schauer. “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.”
The nation’s meat shortage comes as several processing plants deal with large outbreaks of COVID-19. Many plants have been forced to drastically reduce their workforces or temporarily shut down completely.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union estimated in late April that a 10th of national beef production has been affected by the closures.