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Tortilla Shortage a Supreme Headache for Taco Bell


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Taco Bell is facing a long, long month as it grapples with a tortilla shortage. 

According to the company, it is experiencing shortages of the key, 10-inch soft flour tortilla at many restaurants. 

So far, neither Taco Bell or the supplier has said what the exact issue is. But that hasn’t stopped social media users and alleged employees from spouting their own theories. Everything from a ordering errors to a jet crash into a tortilla plant have been blamed. 

The only confirmation has come from internal employee notices stating that, “Due to a national outage of our flour tortilla shell (wraps) we are temporarily unable to sell the following menu items: Burritos (all) Quesadilla.” 

It’s made for some awkward drive thru conversations and has led to some locations closing early or completely as much of their menu relies on the 10-inch soft tortillas. 

Already, multiple news sources from People to Newsweek and a handful of local news stations in New York, Atlanta and Northern Alabama. 

Taco Bell issued a statement addressing the shortage. 

“While some Taco Bell restaurants are experiencing supplier shortages, we are working diligently to replenish the supply of our tortillas (used for products like quesadillas and burritos) in those restaurants and encourage fans to try the Chalupa Cravings Box in the meantime. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause and appreciate our customers’ patience.”

Purportedly, memos show that the company hopes to have supply stabilized by the end of July, a long time to wait for a key item. 

It could prove costly for the suppliers. After a massive tortilla recall left Taco Bell restaurants without tortillas in 2000, the supplier paid franchise owners $60 million to make up for lost sales. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
 twitter.com/mlarson1011.
 

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