McDonald’s milkshake shortage is the latest casualty of the U.K.’s food supply restrictions

August 24, 2021, 5:30 PM UTC
McDonald's is running out of certain products such as milkshakes and bottled drinks.
May James—SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

McDonald’s Corp. ran out of milkshakes in England, Scotland and Wales, the latest restaurant chain hit by a labor shortage that’s crippling key industries from haulage to food processing.  

Supply restrictions meant that some items including bottled drinks are unavailable in more than 1,250 of the fast-food giant’s U.K. outlets, McDonald’s said in a statement. It joins the growing list of large food chains in Britain reporting similar menu gaps, including KFC and Nando’s Group, the South African company know for its spicy chicken. 

The shortages across the food supply chain come after thousands of workers left the U.K. following Brexit, with about 14,000 European Union truck drivers departing in the year to June, according to the Office for National Statistics. The British Poultry Council warned that one in six jobs in its industry were unfilled by the worker exodus, the Guardian newspaper reported.   

“Like most retailers, we are currently experiencing some supply chain issues, impacting the availability of a small number of products,” McDonald’s said Tuesday. “Bottled drinks and milkshakes are temporarily unavailable in restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales.”

COVID-19 restrictions and the “pingdemic,” which forced people to isolate after receiving a government notification that they had come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, also caused labor shortages. The scramble for workers has intensified by companies seeking staff after the U.K. government lifted the bulk of coronavirus measures in July. 

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