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Wendy's runs out of burgers at some locations

Decline in meat production could lead to shortage
Decline in meat production could lead to shortage 02:22

Wendy's is pulling beef from the menu at some of its 5,861 locations in the U.S. as coronavirus-shutdowns disrupts the meat industry. 

The change came to light after some Wendy's customers took to social media to comment on the burger shortage. The fast-food chain's reduced offerings come as major grocery sellers including Kroger and Costco ration how much beef, pork and poultry customers can buy.

"It is widely known that beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges," Wendy's said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. "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. However, some of our menu items may be temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment." 

Meat processing plants vow to ramp up coronavirus precautions 02:16

McDonald's is also watching its beef supplies, with CEO Christopher Kempczinski telling CNBC last week that the company is monitoring its supply chain hourly. Burger King also said it is watching its supplies on an hourly and daily basis.

"We haven't seen any interruptions or disruptions to our supply chain in North America, either on the beef, pork or poultry side," José Cil, CEO of Restaurant Brands International, the publicly held company that owns Burger King, told analysts on an earnings call on Friday.

More than 20 meatpacking plants around the U.S. have closed at some point in the past two months, reducing pork production by about a quarter and cutting beef output by about 10%, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers, a trade union.

At least 9,300 confirmed case of coronaviruses have been tied to meatpacking facilities in 27 states, and at least 40 workers have died, according to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

—CBS News' May Bayer contributed to this report.

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