Wetherspoons has once more been blighted by Brexit, with customers complaining that the pub giant has been unable to serve toast.
One of the chain’s suppliers of bloomer bread has had labour difficulties, causing one branch of the pub behemoth to blame Brexit supply problems for the shortages.
With breakfasts comprising a significant slice of Spoons’ sales, the toast outage could batter Brexit-supporting owner Tim Martin’s business.
One customer visiting one of the pub’s Bath branches told trade magazine The Grocer that the problem was down to a “shortage of drivers due to Brexit”.
A spokesman for Wetherspoons told the Evening Standard: “A supplier of bloomer bread to Wetherspoon has had labour difficulties at its production facility.
“Thirteen breakfast menu dishes have bloomer bread as part of the meal. Eleven other breakfast meals are unaffected, including meals which have breakfast muffins, breakfast wraps and eggs Benedict.”
Taps runs dry
It comes after Spoons was last week forced to apologise for its beer shortages after some of its branches ran out of Heineken, Carling and Coors.
Supermarkets and suppliers are struggling to meet demand following an exodus of drivers from EU countries after Brexit, who returned to the continent during the pandemic and remained there.
This is coupled with the health crisis bringing DVSA testing centres to a standstill, creating a huge backlog of drivers taking their HGV test.
Earlier this year, Martin called for the government to increase migration from the EU to deal with a shortage of workers in the hospitality sector – despite campaigning to leave the single market and end freedom of movement.
Martin told The Daily Telegraph: “The UK has a low birth rate. A reasonably liberal immigration system controlled by those we have elected, as distinct from the EU system, would be a plus for the economy and the country.
“America, Australia and Singapore have benefitted for many decades from this approach. Immigration combined with democracy works.”
The Wetherspoons chairman has previously warned that remaining in the EU would spark “significant adverse economic consequences” – and labelled those warning of impending economic damage as “doomsayers”.
Arguing in favour of a no-deal Brexit in 2019, Martin said: “I have argued that the UK – and therefore Wetherspoon – will benefit from a free-trade approach, by avoiding a ‘deal’ which involves the payment of £39bn to the EU.”
Nando’s, McDonald’s: who’s next?
Lorry driver Viorel Alexandru Onu told The London Economic last month that he is thinking of following in the footsteps of his colleagues and moving back to Romania to work across Europe.
He said: “Primarily, lorry drivers in the UK were Romanian, Polish and Lithuanian. A lot of my acquaintances who are lorry drivers have left the UK, as soon as the new Brexit rules came into place. I know of around 10 drivers from my group of friends who went back to Romania completely, and other drivers changed their jobs.
Shortages have hit several retailers and restaurant chains. Nando’s saw a shortage of chickens due to a combination of not enough drivers and fewer staff working in meat factories.
Other delays have also impacted McDonald’s, which said last week it had run out of milkshakes and bottled drinks as it prioritised deliveries of other products in the interim.