Restaurant supply chains affected by fuel panic-buying

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

The trickle down effect of food and fuel shortages are leaving some suppliers unable to deliver produce to restaurants, making them the latest affected by a shortage of HGV drivers across the uk.

A lack of lorry drivers has inhibited the normal flow of deliveries in a whole host of industries in recent months, from supermarkets to fast food chains and beer suppliers. The shortages are largely due to disruptions as a result of the pandemic, exacerbating problems caused by Brexit.

In recent days, fuel deliveries have been affected too, leading to panic buying at petrol stations - even though ministers have repeatedly insisted that there is no shortage of fuel in the UK.

At the weekend, the government said it would issue temporary visas to 5,500 poultry workers and 5,000 HGV drivers to help the food and fuel industries with shortages linked to a lack of lorry drivers in the run-up to Christmas.

But UK business groups have criticised the plan, saying it will not address the country’s labour shortages, which have lead to delays in supplying fuel to some petrol stations - and to panic buying.

Ruby McGregor-Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, equated the plan to "throwing a thimble of water on a bonfire,” adding that "even if these short-term opportunities attract the maximum amount of people allowed under the scheme, it will not be enough to address the scale of the problem that has now developed in our supply chains.”

UK Hospitality leader concurred with the sentiment, as the body raised the need for a Covid recovery visa to counter supply issues as the country came out of lockdown in the spring, warning that the farming, food and hospitality sectors risked major disruption as a result of labour shortages.

I gave evidence to London Assembly and Select Committees on labour shortages - action industry was taking to address and steps needed to reset immigration policy to address. Called for Covid recovery visa and last week signed open letter with supply chain leaders on same

— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) September 26, 2021

Scottish chef Dean Banks said that the boat he buys lobster from is unable to go out and fish and is "tied up in harbour" awaiting fuel, while others have reported an effect on them or their suppliers, either due to a lack of fuel or delivery drivers.

Another chef reported having to repair a CO2 leak in the cellar of his restaurant with instructions from an engineer because the maintenance company's drivers couldn't acquire diesel.

Restaurant supplier Classic Fresh Foods said it was suspending 2nd deliveries "until further notice" to "conserve fuel and give our drivers time to queue at filling stations."


Have you been affected by supply chain issues in recent days/months? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below, or send us a direct message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 27th September 2021

Restaurant supply chains affected by fuel panic-buying