One in five Wendy's is out of beef, analyst says

One in five Wendy's is out of beef, analyst says
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The national meat shortage spurred by the coronavirus pandemic is making its presence felt among fast food chains, with an analysis showing that Wendy's — one of the U.S.'s largest fast food chains — is out of beef at one in five of its locations.

According to the financial firm Stephens, roughly 1,000 Wendy's are not serving hamburgers or other meat-based items, CNN reports. This translates to 18 percent of the chain's stores nationally.

Stephens's analysis said that Wendy's commitment to serving fresh beef has made the chain "more exposed" to the current shortage. Most fast food chains transport their beef frozen, and McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said last week that the chain had yet to suffer a "single supply chain break."

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"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," a Wendy's spokesperson told The Hill in an email.

"However, some of our menu items may be temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment," the spokesperson continued. "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."

Wendy's is slated to release it first-quarter financial report on Wednesday.

Many meat processing plants around the country have had to either reduce or suspend operations because of the virus.

Stephens analyst James Rutherford told CNN that the severity of the shortages vary by region. For example, around 30 percent of Wendy's locations in Ohio, Michigan and New York are out of beef, Rutherford said. States like Arizona, Nevada and Louisiana haven't been affected by the meat shortage, he noted.

Rutherford added that he didn't expect Wendy's to take a huge hit financially because of the beef shortage, pointing to the company's new "highly profitable" breakfast menu.