Dudley and Merry Hill Nando's shut as UK chicken shortage hits restaurants

Nando’s has shut 45 restaurants after suffering a shortage of chicken as industry suppliers warned supply chain disruption is “not going away”.

The restaurant chain said it had to close sites after it was impacted by staffing shortages at suppliers and reduced numbers of lorry drivers, which have also impacted supermarket shelves in recent weeks.

Among those closed is the Merry Hill store, in Brierley Hill, which is set to reopen on Saturday. However the company has not yet confirmed whether this is related to chicken shortages or other problems.

Nandos first said on Twitter on Tuesday that the Merry Hill store will open be on Friday for eat-in, but clarified hours later that it will not be open until Saturday.

Another store that has closed is the one located at Castlegate Leisure Park, in Dudley, near the Showcase cinema. The store in Birmingham Bullring has also closed.

Meanwhile, stores in Wolverhampton city centre, Bentley Bridge, Gallagher Retail Park in Wednesbury, Wharf Shopping Park in Walsall and New Square shopping centre in West Bromwich were open for eat-in and collection only.

Some other branches in the Black Country have stopped offering takeaway but are still open for eating in.

Signs in restaurant windows elsewhere in the country blamed a shortage of stock from suppliers while customers were also told online that it was impacted by “isolation periods” among staff.

A poultry industry source said that warnings last month that EU worker rules and logistics issues would continue to hit food supply had not been heeded.

“We raised this issue with Government many weeks ago and nothing significant has happened since, so it is clearly not going away,” he said.

“We need new workers to come on board to cope with this demand, and while Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) have been helpful, the issue is with the Home Office.

“There are shortages fluctuating between 10% and 20% of staff, so we need some emergency changes get workers overseas who can fill this gap.”

Some restaurants have signs up explaining the closure, such as this branch in Manchester

Nando’s said it has seconded around 70 staff to suppliers to help with supply issues, but industry sources said this “will not touch the sides”.

Responding to upset customers on Twitter, Nando’s described the situation as “a bit of a ‘mare'”.

The restaurant said: “The UK supply chain is having a bit of a ‘mare’ right now. his is having a knock-on effect with some of our restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales.

“We are doing everything we can to get the peri-peri back where it belongs – on your plates!”

The industry executive added that the “complexity” of requirements for products ordered by the like of Nando’s and KFC means they will face greater levels of disruption from staff shortages than supermarkets.

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

“However, since Monday, a team of our brilliant Nandocas have been supporting our key suppliers onsite – working in partnership to help get things moving again, and this has already had a positive impact on affected restaurants.

“From this Saturday, as a result of the hard work behind the scenes, it is our intention that all of our restaurants will be open again, and all our customers can enjoy their favourite peri-peri chicken.”

The shortages at Nando’s come weeks after rival KFC warned that supply chain issues meant it was unable to stock some menu items.

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