McDonald’s runs out of milkshakes in the UK

O McDonalds was forced to stop selling milkshakes and bottled drinks at approximately 1300 restaurants in the United Kingdom, while a lack of employees linked to the Brexit and supply chain delays generated by the pandemic continue to affect companies.

“Like most resellers, we are currently experiencing some supply chain issues impacting the availability of a small number of products. Bottled drinks and milkshakes are temporarily unavailable in restaurants in England, Scotland and Wales,” said a spokesman for the fast food giant in a statement on Tuesday (24), confirming the news first reported by the newspaper Independent.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, and thank our customers for their uninterrupted patience. We are working hard to get these items back to the menu as quickly as possible,” added the spokesperson.

McDonald’s is the latest in a series of companies in the UK to see their supply chain strained due to pandemic and Brexit, which contributed to a shortage of workers and introduced new trade barriers with the European Union. Last week, the company Nando closed 45 of its restaurants in the UK due to a shortage of the chain’s most famous dish, peri peri chicken.

The coronavirus pandemic has built up pressure on food producers and restaurants, who are struggling to find enough employees. In recent months, the shortage of workers has been exacerbated by rules in the UK that require people to isolate themselves if they come into contact with someone who has been infected with the coronavirus.

New rules went into effect last week, requiring people to fully vaccinated in England they are no longer legally required to isolate themselves if they have close contact with a positive case of Covid-19.

But the existence of other factors means the problems haven’t gone away.

The shortage of truck drivers contributes to supply disruptions in the UK. The Road Transport Association stated that there are approximately 100,000 truck drivers in the UK. Of these, 20,000 are natives of the European Union who left the country after Brexit. There is also a shortage of workers in other parts of the food supply chain.

James Hook, who manages farms that supply a third of the chickens sold in the UK, told the CNN Business in June your company’s usual number of vacant spaces doubled. Last week, the British Poultry Council blamed Brexit for a lack of employees, which could result in a shortage of turkeys for the Christmas.

Ranjit Singh Boparan, founder of 2 Sisters Food Group, said last month that his company had a 15% labor shortage among its 16,000-employee workforce due to a “perfect storm” involving Brexit, the pandemic and the government inaction in the midst of a crisis.

“The operating environment has deteriorated so deeply that I see no result other than significant food shortages in the UK. The supply of chicken and turkey is threatened,” Boparan said in a statement.

Dairy producers are also under pressure. Arla, which supplies milk to British supermarkets, told BBC in July the company had been facing a driver shortage since early April.

“Our analysis is that we are in a crisis of lack of employees and therefore we are asking industry and government to work together to recognize this crisis and actually address this issue,” said Ash Amirahmadi, COO , to the BBC.

Blockages in the supply chain are causing further damage to the UK economy.

British companies have been experiencing a drastic slowdown in production growth in August, according to data published on Monday (23) by IHS Markit. Companies reported extensive restrictions on business activity due to lack of employees and problems in supply chains, with damage being caused in both the manufacturing and service sectors.

“The analysis of comments provided by survey respondents suggests that the incidence of reduced production due to lack of employees or materials was 14 times higher than usual, and the highest since the survey began in January 1998,” said the IHS Markit.

(Translated text. read here the original in English.)