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Where's the Beef? Wendy's Taking Burgers Off Menu Amid Shortages

CBS Detroit - The next time you're in the mood for Dave's double cheeseburger, you could be out of luck. As shortages in beef are hitting the U.S. amid the Coronavirus pandemic. It is being reported that fast-food chain Wendy's is being affected.

Some are reporting that Wendy's drive-thrus in Metro-Detroit are offering chicken instead of beef. This comes as meat processors are having a hard time staying at capacity amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Heidi Schauer, a spokesperson for Wendy's told Restaurant Business, "We are working closely with our supplier partners and restaurant teams to minimize the impact to our customers and continue to monitor this closely."

Credit: | Joni Hanebutt

Beef and pork production is down amid COVID-19. With plant closings and delays in the supply chain, farmers are even having trouble finding a market for their livestock.

David Maloni, executive vice president of analytics for Arrowstream, told Restaurant Business beef production is down 25% from last year. Maloni added the problem is with 50% fresh beef trim restaurants use. They combine that with 90% lean beef to control the quality of their products. With a reduction in beef processing production, combined with increased demand at fast-food chains, the price of 50% trim has risen significantly.

Maloni said that 50% beef trimmings were at $1.93 per pound recently, while in April it was as low as 25 cents.

Other fast-food chains like McDonald's are not experiencing problems. The problem Maloni says if your product model is never-frozen beef, then finding trimmings can be hard.

With the price of cattle falling significantly, farmers could have less incentive to raise cattle. These shortages are already affecting pork markets as well.

So the next time you're in the mood for a burger, you could have to settle for nuggets.

© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Information from the WXYZ, Restaurant Business and People contributed to this report.

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