McDonald’s says it has run out of milkshakes at its restaurants in England, Scotland and Wales.
The fast-food chain said it some supply chain issues had affected availability of a small number of menu items.
These products also include some bottled drinks, which are temporarily unavailable in its 1,250 outlets in England, Scotland, and Wales.
The problems emerged because of low stock distribution caused by the continuing shortage of HGV drivers.
A McDonald’s spokesman said: “Like most retailers, we are currently experiencing some supply chain issues, impacting the availability of a small number of products.
“Bottled drinks and milkshakes are temporarily unavailable in restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales.”
Earlier this month, a survey by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimated there was a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000.
The RHA has said some 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, adding that a “historic” shortage in drivers had been exacerbated by changes to rules following Brexit.
More recently, drivers being told to self-isolate after being notified by the NHS Covid app have also added to the problem.
Analysis of the latest ONS Labour Force Survey for the second quarter suggests that 14,000 EU lorry drivers left jobs in the UK in the year to June 2020, but only 600 had returned by July 2021.
Firms from a number of sectors in the UK have been battling with a supply chain crisis due to a shortage of lorry drivers. On Friday, Logistics UK, which represents freight firms, and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) wrote to the government to plead for new measures to alleviate the problem.
Tesco has been offering lorry drivers a £1,000 joining bonus amid a chronic shortage of drivers in the industry.
Other companies are also understood to be offering similar incentives for HGV drivers after disruption to supply chains led to product shortages. Morrisons said it was working on schemes to train staff to become lorry drivers.
A government spokesperson said last week it was bringing in a package of measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and to increase the number of tests that can be conducted.
It has also temporarily relaxed drivers’ hours rules to allow HGV drivers to make slightly longer journeys.
Other leading businesses have reported problems caused by driver shortages.
Last week, Nando’s was forced to close about 50 of its restaurants after running out of chicken.
Rival KFC also warned recently that supply chain issues meant it was unable to stock some menu items.
Dairy giant Arla has had to cut back on milk deliveries to supermarkets because of a shortage of drivers, while sweet producer Haribo also reported problems resulting from a shortage of drivers.
Oil giant BP temporarily closed a “handful” of its UK sites because not enough unleaded petrol and diesel had been delivered.
McDonald’s said: “We apologise for any inconvenience, and thank our customers for their continued patience. We are working hard to return these items to the menu as soon as possible.”