Customers expect fresh fries and juicy burgers, not produce. Unless you're at a salad chain, greens are an afterthought; they give crisp and freshness but aren't the highlight.
When they are noticeably absent from your sandwich, that may be the only time you recognize their significance. And given the present shortage that is affecting your favorite restaurants, that is a realistic possibility.
Business Insider reports that there is a shortage of leafy greens affecting at least two fast food companies. Late last week, Taco Bell and Chick-fil-A both included disclaimers to their mobile apps regarding the current lettuce shortage.
A notice reading "Due to global supply chain problems, we may be temporarily out of lettuce. Some menu items may be unavailable or prepared differently. We regret for the inconvenience" is displayed at the top of the Chik-fil-A app.
A "weather-related shortfall" of lettuce was affecting both the industry as a whole and Chick-fil-menu, A's the fast food chain said.
A corporate spokesman said that some menu items might be prepared differently while others might not be offered at all. You may use a spring mix in place of the romaine and green leaf lettuce, for instance.
Subway and Panera stated that various lettuce types may be unavailable, but Chipotle isn't. We'll update if Taco Bell or Panera respond.
Pandemic-related difficulties are affecting lettuce supplies. According to The New York Post, farmers planted less because they didn't want an excess they couldn't use.
A carton of iceberg lettuce went from $14 in 2019 to $67, a 378% increase, according to Restaurant Business Online. Other lettuce kinds suffered price increases.
Disease, especially in romaine, is also a problem. Lettuce quantities should rise as farming shifts to disease-free areas. This week and through December, availability should rise.