The pub chain is beginning to see stocks of certain popular beers dwindle owing to a “lack of lorry drivers and strike action”, according to a sign in one branch.
Twitter user Graham Hughes shared an image of the note, which reads: “We regret to inform you that we are out of stock of Carling, Coors and Bud Light. Due to supply issues regards to [sic] lack of lorry drivers and strike action which are out of our control”.
It appears that #Brexit is screwing over Wetherspoons an' all.
In response to the post, Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told indy100: “We are experiencing some supply problems with both Carling and Coors, which means that some pubs do not have the products available.
“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused. We know that the brewers are trying to resolve the issue.”
It comes as the UK continues to grapple with a serious lorry driver shortage, which is adding to post-Brexit disruption and worldwide material supply problems caused by the Covid pandemic.
Martin had called on Boris Johnson to introduce a special visa scheme with the European Union as British pubs and restaurants struggle with recruitment and employee absence following months of lockdown.
Back in June, hospitality chiefs said they were being forced to shut during the vital lunchtime trade because there just weren’t enough workers to cover the shifts.
In an interview with The Telegraph at the time, Martin set out his recommendation for the creation of a new visa scheme that would allow more EU workers into the UK.
However, after this invited speculation that his own chain was suffering from staffing issues, Martin hit back with fury.
He accused The Telegraph of “misrepresent[ing] Wetherspoon’s position” and denied that his company was grappling with a lack of man power.
Martin said he had told the paper that the pub giant was in a “reasonably good position” regarding applications for new roles across the country.
However, he conceded that “recruitment is more challenging in some seaside towns – but that’s no different to what we experience in any year”.
Since then, more than a quarter of food and hospitality firms have been hit by low stock levels, as Britain’s mounting supply chain crisis takes it toll.
A recent business survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 27 per cent of food and accommodation firms have reported lower than normal stock levels – the worst-hit of all the sectors.
Some nine per cent of hospitality firms said they have not been able to get the supplies they need in recent weeks, with 11.4 per cent saying they’ve had to change suppliers or find alternative ways to access materials, goods or services.
More broadly, the mounting supply chain crisis is leaving supermarket shelves bare and leading to a dearth of materials and higher prices across a raft of sectors, from housebuilding to car production.
Speaking to the BBC, Coral Rose, managing director of Country Range, which delivers food to care homes and restaurants, said: “We have been talking about this as an issue for a long time, for many months.
“While we are coping now, September is going to be much worse. We have schools coming back, we have workplaces returning, we have the tourist season still in full swing, and then it just builds all the way up to Christmas.
“So if the Government cannot release this temporary EU Visa scheme to get some lorry drivers over here pretty quickly, then we’re going to be in trouble.”