The fast food industry has another shortage but it's not something most American fast-food devotees have encountered before – lettuce.
What began with pandemic-led supply chain issues, lettuce production was recently dampened by a warm front and widespread crop disease in California’s Salinas Valley – the “Salad Bowl of the World.” Close to 40% of the recent lettuce crop was wiped out, pushing the price of the leafy green up nearly 20% higher than it was a year ago.
And the trickle-down impact is forcing some restaurants to alter their menus and prices on certain items to compensate for the loss.
According to various news reports, Subway, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell have been sent scrambling to make sure consumers understand what’s going on and doing what they can in adjusting prices or removing certain menu items to keep things in check.
A Panera spokesperson told Insider that the chain is "remaining flexible" with recipes and working with suppliers to meet its lettuce needs.
Chick-fil-A took to its app to say that "Due to global supply chain challenges, we may be temporarily out of lettuce. Some menu items may be unavailable or prepared differently."
Taco Bell also sent out warnings via its app as a matter of caution in case its fans found their tacos a little shy on the greenery side of things.
“Some restaurants are switching to alternatives for their wedge salads and salad-based bowls. Others are asking customers to pay a surcharge to help cover costs,” RestaurantBusiness’ Lisa Jennings, said.
But, there’s possibly some good news sooner rather than later. If cold weather continues across the country, the situation could right itself and return everything to normal in the next few months.