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McDonald's Is Facing This New Shortage That Could Affect Your Next Order

The pandemic has changed the way we like to get our Mickey D's orders.

Fast-food megabrands haven't been exempt from the national shortages of ingredients, as the country grapples with post-pandemic supply chain issues. Starbucks has had to temporarily retire as many as 25 menu items in June, thanks to the spotty availability of several flavored syrups and types of tea bags. And Taco Bell's ongoing shortage of chicken, beef, tortillas, and hot sauce is a well-known issue nationwide.

And while McDonald's has been able to avoid challenges to its menu items, there's a different, unexpected shortage the fast-food giant is dealing with—and one that may end up affecting your next order. And for more, check out Burgers at This Popular Chain Will Get More Expensive Soon, Executives Say.

Paper bags are in short supply

mcdonalds cashier
Photo: Shutterstock

According to The Wall Street Journal, McDonald's is facing a tightening supply of paper bags. An internal company memo was circulated to the chain's franchisees in late July, asking them to dial down their orders of to-go bags from suppliers to avoid a full-blown paper bag crisis. Here's why the chain is having issues.

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The issue is caused by dine-in customers


While various supply chain shortages are still wreaking havoc on our nation's businesses, the chain is in this paper-bag shortage predicament thanks to another reason altogether. It's the customers, who are now so used to getting all their food served in a paper bag as opposed to a potentially germ-laden tray, that are contributing to the issue. According to the WSJ, people are requesting their McDonald's orders be served in a bag even when dining in.

McDonald's says the shortage is under control

mcdonalds tray

McDonald's said the impact of this shortage on their restaurants is currently minimal. "Despite temporary pressures in the industry, the impact to restaurants is minimal," a company representative said. "Based on what we know today, we are confident customers should not see disruption to supply of bags or straws. We will continue to watch closely."

Still, the chain is encouraging operators to push for the usage of trays for dine-in customers, which means your next dine-in order will likely not be serve in a paper bag.

Trays are making a slow comeback

mcdonalds cash register and employee

To-go bags have been the norm throughout the pandemic when fast-food chains focused mainly on to-go orders. Additionally, customers were terrified of potentially contracting COVID-19 by touching objects and surfaces, adding to the preference for protective and more sanitary paper bags. McDonald's said some of their newer crew members aren't in the habit of using trays because of those reasons.

"Many new crew members have never had to deal with trays before," the July memo said. "The transition to using trays has been slower, more difficult because we haven't done it in so long."

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Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura