Shortage of lorry drivers reportedly to blame for issue affecting 1,250 outlets in England, Scotland and Wales

Milkshakes are off the menu at McDonald’s in England, Scotland and Wales, leaving customers definitely not “lovin’ it” after supply chain issues.

The fast-food chain has also been left without some bottled drinks across its 1,250 outlets in Great Britain this week.

It is understood to be caused by a shortage of lorry drivers owing to post-Brexit EU immigration rules, Covid-19 restrictions and self-isolation guidance.

The burger chain is said to be working hard to restore the items to the menu as soon as possible. Last week, Nando’s was forced to close about 50 restaurants because of chicken shortages. It blamed staffing shortages at suppliers and a reduced number of lorry drivers. KFC also said recently that supply chain issues meant it was unable to stock some menu items.

A McDonald’s spokesman said the group is “working hard to return these items to the menu”. He said: “Like most retailers, we are currently experiencing some supply chain issues, impacting the availability of a small number of products. “Bottled drinks and milkshakes are temporarily unavailable in restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales. “We apologise for any inconvenience, and thank our customers for their continued patience.”

The burger chain is the latest firm in several sectors battling supply chain issues. Gaps on supermarket shelves are likely to continue for several months unless the government does more to tackle the labour crisis hitting haulage firms, suppliers have warned. Some manufacturers have reported sharp increased in the prices of raw materials.

The shortage of qualified HGV drivers, worsened by Brexit and Covid, has left wholesalers unable to get goods to shops. Logistics and hauliers’ organisations said August would be a pinch point in the shortage as workers take summer breaks, while firms offering bonuses and sign-on fees to recruit drivers were not helping matters.

Business groups representing the retail and transport sectors have been calling for the government to review plans not to grant temporary work visas to drivers from the EU. Lobby groups for the sectors affected have written to the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, outlining the lorry driver shortage and the knock-on effect to supply chains. They want a review of plans not to grant temporary work visas to drivers from the EU.