Where’s the beef? Wendy’s shelves some items because of shortages

Clara Peller
The late Clara Peller starred in a classic series of Wendy's commercial in 1984.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — If you drive up to a Wendy’s restaurant in the Coulee Region and voice its old slogan, “Where’s the beef?”, the answer these days will be, “Well, that depends.”
But that’s more palatable to the palate than what’s available in some areas of the country. Many Wendy’s have dropped hamburgers altogether because of sporadic meat shortages.
Workers at Wendy’s outlets in La Crosse, Onalaska and Rochester, Minn., said during phone checks today that they aren’t selling Dave’s Triples or Double Stacks because of supply shortages. But patrons still can get single hamburger and cheeseburgers. If you’re on a road trip to the Twin Cities, though, Triples and Doubles are available at some stores, according to servers there.
Asked whether the apparent meat shortage is affecting the menu at the Wendy’s at 9346 State Road in Onalaska, a staffer replied, “Well, it is — and it isn’t,” adding that the Triples and Double Stacks are on hiatus. Singles are still coming hot off the grill, an assessment that a worker at the Wendy’s at 4422 Mormon Coulee Road in La Crosse echoed.
Meanwhile, an Illinois woman posted a tweet with a photo of a hand-written note at her local Wendy’s.

“Sorry for the inconvenience, we are currently experiencing issues with our meat processing supplier + are unable to serve beef products. We are happy to serve chicken + side items. — Thank you!”

In Michigan, a Wendy’s drive-up had a note saying, “Due to the beef shortage we are not selling any beef today only chicken. Management.”
Actually, the supply gaps don’t mean there’s no meat. Rather, they are the result of closures of all or part of meat processing plants because of COVID-19 outbreaks, including several deaths at several packing plants.

President Donald Trump, a voracious fan of McDonald’s, has ordered that meat plants must remain open as essential during the novel coronavirus. He has granted processors immunity from any potential lawsuits from workers who become ill or their families if they die.
Meat plants that either reopened or never closed have instituted safety measures such as spacing out workers that have reduced production, industry and union officials say.
Local Wendy’s workers said they have no idea when Triples and Doubles might return.
“Where’s the Beef?” was the iconic commercial Wendy’s launched in 1984 in which the late Clara Peller belligerently posed the question about rivals’ burgers. The commercial insisted that Wendy’s Singles had more beef than the Whopper or Big Mac.