Nando’s forced to shut outlets through Covid-related shortages

Chicken restaurant chain says it expects closures to be temporary as it seconds staff to suppliers

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Last modified on Tue 17 Aug 2021 14.46 EDT

Peri-peri chicken wings have become the latest casualty of Covid-related upheaval in the food industry, with a shortage of chicken forcing Nando’s to temporarily close a 10th of its restaurants.

The chain blamed the need to shutter outlets on staffing issues at its suppliers’ factories as well as the shortage of HGV lorry drivers that has resulted in gaps on supermarket shelves in recent weeks.

Signs in restaurant windows blamed stock supply issues for closures. The company also told customers online that shortages have been caused by staff “isolation periods” and suppliers “struggling to keep up with demand”.

Nando’s confirmed that 45 of its 450 restaurants were currently closed. In a bid to get deliveries back on track the company has seconded 70 staff to suppliers and is hopeful that all its restaurants would be able to reopen by Saturday.

A Nando’s spokesperson said: “The UK food industry has been experiencing disruption across its supply chain in recent weeks due to staff shortages and Covid isolations, and a number of our restaurants have been impacted.”

The company said that on Monday staff had been deployed to support some of its key suppliers onsite and “help get things moving again”. It said this was already having a positive impact on the affected restaurants. “It is our intention to have all of our restaurants up and trading again from this Saturday, as a result of the hard work behind the scenes,” it added.

Last week rival KFC warned that supply chain issues were disrupting both their food and packaging stocks nationwide. In 2018 KFC famously had to close most of its UK outlets after problems with a new delivery contract led to a chicken shortage.

The chicken supply issues follow a stark warning from Ranjit Singh Boparan, the billionaire founder of the 2 Sisters Food Group which is the country’s largest supplier of supermarket chicken. He said the country’s supply of chicken and turkey was “under threat” due to labour shortages linked to Brexit and soaring ingredient costs.

Last month dairy giant Arla, which delivers milk to about 2,400 stores each day in the UK, said driver shortages were affecting its service to retailers.

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