18 percent of Wendy's locations not offering beef items, restaurant analyst says

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A significant portion of Wendy’s restaurants are slowly morphing into chicken joints — at least according to a recent analysis of its menus.

Wendy’s, whose famous “Where’s the beef?” catchphrase positioned the chain as the beefiest of fast-food options, has publicly stated that some of the items at certain restaurants “may be temporarily limited” due in part to “production challenges” at the nation’s beef suppliers affected by the coronavirus health crisis. But according to a new analysis from Stephens, Inc., an independent financial services firm headquartered in Arkansas, just under a fifth of Wendy’s restaurants in the United States was not listing beef items on menus as of Monday evening.

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“The Stephens data team analyzed the online menu of every Wendy's nationwide, and we discovered that 18 percent of units have listed all beef items as out of stock,” wrote James Rutherford, a stock analyst for Stephens covering the restaurant sector, in a research bulletin released Tuesday.

The analysis, conducted by an independent financial services firm, used publicly available data pulled from real-time menus of over 6,000 Wendy's locations. 

The analysis, conducted by an independent financial services firm, used publicly available data pulled from real-time menus of over 6,000 Wendy's locations.  (Photo by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In a statement to Fox News, Rutherford stressed that Wendy’s itself did not directly provide any information or data used in the analysis. Rather, the research was passed on publically available data pulled from the real-time menus at 6,000-plus Wendy’s locations in North America (including every location in the U.S.).

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By the analysts’ count, 1,043 restaurants were out of beef items, though 128 of those locations were still offering chili, an item that Stephens’ analysis was not counting as a beef item for the purposes of the study.

Restaurants in some states were hit harder than others, with Stephens reporting on a correlation between the “geographic nature” of the affected restaurants in relation to shuttered meat-processing plants. Those hardest hit include Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee, which contain the most locations without beef items on the menu, according to Stephens. Interestingly, the state with the highest percentage of restaurants not offering beef items was Vermont, with the analysis finding 100 percent of Wendy’s locations in the state (there are just four) were affected.

The research indicated that restaurants in some states were hit harder than others, noting a correlation between the “geographic nature” of the affected restaurants in relation to shuttered meat-processing plants.

The research indicated that restaurants in some states were hit harder than others, noting a correlation between the “geographic nature” of the affected restaurants in relation to shuttered meat-processing plants. (iStock)

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Earlier this week, Wendy’s had released a statement regarding its menu items, but claimed every restaurant was still receiving hamburgers a few times per week.

“It is widely known that beef suppliers across North America are currently facing production challenges, We continue to supply hamburgers to all of our restaurants, with deliveries two or three times a week, which is consistent with normal delivery schedules,” a spokesperson for Wendy’s confirmed. “However, some of our menu items may be temporarily limited at some restaurants in this current environment. We’re working diligently to minimize the impact to our customers and restaurants, and continue to work with our supplier partners to monitor this closely.”