McDonald’s has been joined by Subway and Wetherspoons in struggling with food supplies to stores, with a shortage of lorry drivers causing the disruption to continue.
Dairy giant Arla says it has been asked to stop sending milkshake mix to McDonald’s, after supply chain issues, blamed on Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, left the fast-food chain left unable to sell any milkshakes. Sandwich chain Subway has confirmed it, too, is suffering shortages of some fresh produce but insisted any disruption to what could be offered to customers was minimal. Likewise, Wetherspoon pubs are steeling themselves for shortfalls in supplies.
“The impact of the driver shortage issue is to our fresh milk deliveries to stores, where, on average we are not able to supply around 10 per cent of the circa 2,400 direct to store deliveries we do each day.”
As well as producing many of its own branded products, Arla is also a major supplier of dairy products to all the UK’s major supermarkets.
A spokesperson for Subway said the firm was having “minor supply-chain shortages relating to some fresh produce” but said the disruption to customers was minimal so far. “We appreciate that supply-chain pressure is something a lot of the industry is experiencing at the moment.”
All Wetherspoon pubs have enough food and drink to stay open and offer full menus, a spokesperson told The Independent, but problems may be on the horizon.
“We are aware of possible shortages on some products and in those cases are working with alternative suppliers,” the spokesperson added.
Last week, Nando’s was forced to temporarily close around 50 restaurants after having chicken shortages.
In an effort to tackle the problem, the government said it was streamlining the process for new drivers to gain a HGV licence and had temporarily relaxed the rules on how long drivers can go before having to take a break.
Arla said the shortage of drivers was a problem in the industry before Brexit and the pandemic, but had been exacerbated significantly. It planned to open a driver academy programme at all five of its depots, using funds from the apprenticeship levy to support and train new drivers.