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TACO BELL AND STARBUCKS WARN ABOUT SHORTAGES

By Jonathan Maze

Supply chain problems continue to plague the restaurant industry, leading big chains Taco Bell and Starbucks to warn consumers on Monday that some items may not be available.

Starbucks told customers on its app that “due to supply shortages, some items are temporarily unavailable.”

That echoed warnings that have persisted at the chain’s locations for months. Consumers have complained on social media channels about periodic shortages of items such as green tea.

At Taco Bell, customers are complaining about a lack of hot sauce. The Mexican fast-food chain’s website warns customers that not all items are available at the moment.

The company, owned by the Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands, blamed transportation problems for the shortages.

“Due to national transportation delays happening throughout most of the industry, we may be temporarily out of some items,” the company said in a statement. “Apologies for the inconvenience and we hope to feed fans’ current Taco Bell cravings again soon.”

Restaurants have faced shortages of everything from sauces to pickles to chicken wings in recent months due to a host of issues—including weather problems in Texas and intense demand from consumers coupled with supply limitations.

But transportation issues have made matters worse. An economywide lack of drivers has made it difficult for companies to deliver goods to their destination.

Rick Cardenas, president of Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants, told investors last month that any supply chain issues his company has is over warehousing and transportation problems and not an actual shortage of supplies.

“The few spot outages we have are due to warehouse staffing and driver shortages, not product availability,” Cardenas said, according to a transcript on the financial services site Sentieo.

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