Wendy’s Burgers ‘Temporarily Limited’ at Some Restaurants Due to Meat Shortage Amid Coronavirus

Wendy's beef shortage

Getty The Wendy's restaurant sign in Bowie, Maryland.

Numerous Wendy’s restaurant locations across the nation have temporarily removed burgers from their menus due to the meat shortage amid coronavirus, according to customers around the country. In an unfortunate twist of fate, disappointed customers wanting to order take-out or hit the drive-thru can’t help but reference chain’s famous slogan from the ’80s and ask, “Where’s the beef?”

In response, Wendy’s put out the following statement: “As you’ve likely heard, beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges. Because of this, some of our menu items may be in short supply from time to time at some restaurants in this current environment. We expect this to be temporary, and we’re working diligently to minimize the impact to our customers and restaurants.”

In an email to Heavy, a Wendy’s spokesperson further explained:

It is widely known that beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges. 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. We’re working diligently to minimize the impact to our customers and restaurants, and continue to work with our supplier partners to monitor this closely.

Where's The Beef Commercials – Wendy's 1984The phrase first came to public attention as a U.S. television commercial for the Wendy's chain of hamburger restaurants in 1984. In the ad, titled "Fluffy Bun," actress Clara Peller receives a burger with a massive bun from a fictional competitor which uses the slogan "Home of the Big Bun". The small patty prompts Peller to angrily exclaim, "Where's the beef?" An earlier version, featuring a middle-aged bald man saying, "Thanks, but where's the beef?", failed to make much impact. After the Peller version, the catchphrase was repeated in television shows, films, magazines, and other media outlets.2014-05-31T01:26:21Z

Due to the meat shortage, Wendy’s, the first fast-food chain to promote “never frozen” beef patties, has numerous locations now serving no beef patties, according to customers from California to South Carolina who tweeted how sad they were to discover they couldn’t get a Wendy’s cheeseburger.

While certain locations merely removed the beef items from the menu, other restaurants have posted signs on the front door to notify customers of the change. One online user tweeted, “Went to Wendy’s in Ft. Scott Kansas and they were totally out of beef. I couldn’t help but say… ‘Where’s the beef’?”

Numerous customers also shared on Twitter that certain locations were no longer serving double or triple patty burgers due to the beef shortage. However, one Twitter user shared, “So Wendy’s told me I couldn’t order a double burger, because of a beef shortage. So, the dude recommended I ordered two single burgers instead.”


Meat Processing Plants Across America Have Shut Down Amid Coronavirus

Smithfield

GettyThe Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in South Dakota.

Due to the close quarters and working environment inside a processing plant, coronavirus has ravaged through meatpacking employees at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of May 1, nearly 5,000 workers at meat and poultry processing facilities across 19 states have been diagnosed with the virus. There have been 20 COVID-19-related employee deaths.

The CDC is not taking the situation lightly and is encouraging major changes inside meatpacking plants immediately:

As part of the national COVID-19 response, the recognized risk to meat and poultry facility operation requires prompt action to decrease risks to workers, preserve facility function, and maintain the food supply. Collaborative implementation of engineering controls, administrative controls, enhanced cleaning and disinfection, and source control in meat and poultry processing facilities might reduce COVID-19 among workers supporting this critical industry.

Tyson, a major provider of meat products in America, which has been forced to close plants in Dakota City, Nebraska, and Pasco, Washington, as well as two pork plants in Iowa, put out the following statement on May 4: “We have and expect to continue to face slowdowns and temporary idling of production facilities from team member shortages or choices we make to ensure operational safety.”

In April, U.S. Smithfield, one of the nation’s biggest producers of pork, announced they were shutting down their plant in Sioux Falls, North Dakota, after more than 800 employees tested positive for coronavirus. As of May 4, the Smithfield plant is slowly staring to reopen with the new safety measures implemented.

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