Taco Bell suffers menu shortages amid supply chain woes

·Associate Producer
·2 min read

Taco Bell (YUM) is the latest fast food giant to get hit by national supply chain shortages, with more Americans dining out, putting a strain on beleaguered restaurants.

The Mexican food chain has faced a flurry of complaints across social media in recent days, after customers went to their local restaurants to find that they were out of many key ingredients — including menu staples like chicken, beef, tortillas and hot sauce.

Upon ordering on the app, customers have been prompted with a banner that described "national ingredient shortages" affecting many stores. On Wednesday, a Yahoo Finance reporter tried — and failed — to place an app order for hot sauce and a Naked Chicken Chalupa — a menu item that only came out this past May. 

A man wearing a face mask walks past a fast food restaurant Taco Bell. (Photo by Xisco Navarro/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A man wearing a face mask walks past a fast food restaurant Taco Bell. (Photo by Xisco Navarro/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In response to an inquiry from Yahoo Finance, Taco Bell issued a statement: "Due to national transportation delays happening throughout most of the industry, we may temporarily be out of some items. Apologies for the inconvenience and we hope to feed fans’ current Taco Bell cravings again soon."

The company could not confirm which items faced the largest shortage, but encouraged customers to head to its website to learn more. 

Taco Bell shortage part of larger overall trend

A combination of soaring post-lockdown demand, supply chain blockages and worker shortages have put the squeeze on eateries around the country, with Taco Bell being the latest victim. It also raises questions about the company's ability to fulfill customer demands for an NBA-linked promotion this Friday, in honor of the Milwaukee Bucks win against the Phoenix Suns in Game 6.

Every customer in the U.S. can receive a free Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos, a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos, a crunchy taco or a soft taco on Friday, while loyalty members will have early access to this free menu item promotion on Thursday.

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 4: Tacos are made to order at the new Taco Bell Cantina in Brookline, MA on Dec. 4, 2020. The new Taco Bell on Boston University's campus on Commonwealth Ave. served alcohol. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Tacos are made to order at the new Taco Bell Cantina in Brookline, MA on Dec. 4, 2020. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Separately, other fast food giants including Starbucks (SBUX) continue to face ingredient shortages, including its oat milk that debuted earlier this year. The company also warned customers on its app to make them aware of these shortages, encouraging them to ask their barista on what is available. 

Still, Wall Street investors are seemingly unfazed by the developments. Shares of YUM! Brands are up 7.6% year-to-date, while shares of Starbucks are up even higher at 11.5%. 

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at bdipalma@yahoofinance.com. Check out her latest:

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