Another problem created by quarantines. A meat-processing slowdown caused by extra COVID safety measures combined with a surge in demand for the new chicken sandwiches war have led to a nationwide shortage. As David Gibbs, CEO of Yum Brands said on a call with KFC investors “Demand for the new sandwich has been so strong that, coupled with general tightening in domestic chicken supply, there just isn't enough chicken for all the restaurants".
Last week Bojangles tweeted “we’re experiencing a system-wide shortage :( But they will be back soon!”
The real shortage however isn't chicken per se it's wings.
Wingstop CEO Charles Morrison said “Suppliers are struggling, just as many in our industry are, to hire people to process chicken, thus placing unexpected pressure on the amount of birds that can be processed and negatively affecting supply of all parts of the chicken in the U.S., not just wings. Until we see a marked change in the availability of labor for poultry producers, a labor shortage that we believe is largely fueled by the amount of government stimulus, we anticipate that wing prices could remain elevated for the balance of 2021.”
A Charlotte BBQ owner tells WSOC-TV that he's now taken chicken wings off of his menu. "It’s kind of a crapshoot to see if they show up or not. You may order 10 cases, they may send three, they may send none.” Another restaurant owner said "What we need now is a 4 winged chicken"!
Overall restaurant business went down 11% last year, but wings went up 7%.