Fast food chain Nando's has been forced to temporarily close over 40 outlets in Britain, which is approximately 10% of its restaurants, due to staff shortages hitting its chicken supply chain.
Struggling To Recruit Enough Staff
Retailers, restaurants, cafés and bars have struggled to recruit enough staff in Britain since the economy emerged from COVID-19 lockdowns earlier this year, after workers left the sector and in some cases, the country, following Brexit.
Further restrictions forcing people to isolate if they come into contact with someone carrying COVID-19 have further disrupted supply chains, leaving some shelves empty in supermarkets and some restaurants closing for lunch.
"Having A Bit Of A [Night]mare Right Now"
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In response to customers asking why their local Nando's was closed, the South African chain said on Twitter that "the UK supply chain is having a bit of a [night]mare right now."
Running Limited Services
It also said that it is running limited services in some stores because staff needed to complete isolation periods. That requirement should ease after the government relaxed the rules for those fully vaccinated.
Hoping To Reopen By August 21
Nando's said in a statement that it has a team now working with suppliers onsite and it hopes to reopen restaurants by Saturday August 21.
Widespread Supply Chain Problems
Trade group UK Hospitality said in July that supply chain problems were widespread, with approximately 60% of members telling an industry survey that they were seeing delays in deliveries, not receiving products or facing major price increases.
Lack Of Drivers And Operators
Many companies have been hit by a lack of drivers and operators in food processing centres. While new drivers struggled to train and qualify during spells of the pandemic, Britain has also been hit by an exodus of European drivers.
The Road Haulage Association estimates that approximately 30,000 drivers have stopped operating in Britain since it left the European Union's single market in January.
Having To Pay More To Attract Workers
As a result, companies are having to pay more to attract workers. Official data showed that underlying pay in the accommodation and food services industry jumped by 5.8% in the quarter from April through June, the highest increase of any of the 24 industries listed by the Office for National Statistics.
The Nando's news comes a week after rival fast food group KFC said that it was struggling to stock some items or use its normal packaging due to disruptions in recent weeks.