Restaurants don’t have enough fryers and ovens to open new stores

(Bloomberg) – U.S. restaurant chains are struggling to get the kitchen equipment they need to open new locations, adding to the hurdles for an industry already struggling with a labor shortage work and increasing costs.

Papa John’s International Inc. is facing a shortage of ovens and cold rooms for its pizzas, while smaller chains, including A&W restaurants and Layne’s Chicken Fingers, cannot source sufficient quantities of deep fryers. Companies are reporting a supply chain crisis that is hampering the flow of goods around the world, potentially delaying expansion plans.

“It’s definitely getting harder to get this equipment on schedule than we used to be able to get it,” Papa John general manager Rob Lynch said in an interview Thursday after the results. The company sources its supplies from China, as well as other parts of Asia and Europe. “We are trying to find new suppliers who can complement our current suppliers.

Read also: The fragile recovery of restaurants fizzles out in the United States

The supply-side crisis facing the global shipping industry is causing headaches for virtually all types of businesses that depend on overseas suppliers. While national restaurants don’t necessarily import a lot of food, companies often source ovens, coolers, and fry vats from outside the United States.

Papa John’s has yet to delay expansion plans, but Lynch said the equipment situation poses a “short-term risk to the opening schedule.”

Layne’s, based in Texas, has delayed opening several stores due to a shortage of fryers to cook chicken, its primary product. Each location has seven deep fryers.

“If I order a fryer today, it probably won’t be ready until April or March of next year,” said Samir Wattar, COO. “I have the pipeline to open restaurants, the problem is, can I open with whatever is going on? “

To tackle the shortage, A&W began stocking key items such as stainless steel mixing tubs and deep fryers for French fries – a staple menu item for fast food restaurants. The chain has already delayed opening new stores due to a lack of equipment, which often contains parts from overseas, said CEO Kevin Bazner.

“We are contracting for more things than we need right now so that we can have it on hand,” he said.

Bazner acknowledged that ordering additional equipment actually puts more of a burden on suppliers at a time when they can barely keep up. “Ironically, this puts more pressure on the supply chain. “

© 2021 Bloomberg LP

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