McDonalds has suffered a complete shortage of milkshakes and has been left unable to serve them nationwide. The fast food chain has also been left unable to serve bottled drinks in as many as 1,250 locations across the UK.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s stated on the matter that “like most retailers, we are currently experiencing some supply chain issues, impacting the availability of a small number of products” continuing with, “we apologise for any inconvenience, and thank our customers for their continued patience.”
This is yet another large UK chain to be affected by the current climate, which is seeing a major lack of HGV drivers caused by new EU immigration rules, as well as staff shortages due to the Covid pandemic. Just last week, Nandos was left with no option but to close 50 restaurants temporarily due to a lack of chicken (they have since reopened).
Lobbyists for retail and transport affairs have written to Kwasi Kwarteng, (Secretary of State for business), with a warning on the impact of the EU’s decision not to grant temporary work visas to drivers from the EU, calling for an immediate review of the decision.
A shortfall of 90,000 HGV drivers has placed “increasingly unsustainable pressure on retailers and their supply chain” according to Logistics UK, a representative of both freight firms in the UK and the British retail consortium. Furthermore, a survey by the Road Haulage Association estimated that of the 600,000 pre-pandemic drivers, there was now a shortage of 100,000.
The impact of the EU’s decision has been exacerbated by Covid, with Logistics UK stating that “the pandemic halted driving training and testing for over 12 months, while an estimated 25,000 drivers returned home during the pandemic and following the end of the transition period.”
Even the influx of new drivers is being slowed as the RHA estimates that around 30,000 driving tests have been abandoned whilst those who remain face the threat of being pinged and forced to self isolate.
As well as new Government schemes that are in the works in an effort to address the issue, companies like Tesco are offering a £1,000 joining bonus for new lorry drivers.
A McDonald’s spokesperson has stated that “we are working hard to return these items to the menu as soon as possible.” For now at least, it seems that both Brexit and Covid have taken even our milkshakes away from us.
If you thought this was cause for concern, read about this: UK food firms ask government to utilise prisoners to help with alarming labour shortages.