Surviving Tortillapocalypse

August 1, 2019
Surviving Tortillapocalypse

We survived the Tortillapocalyspe.

The first half of July 2019 brought supply chain shortages to Taco Bell, as the company ran out of 10 inch tortillas at several restaurants.  The shortage impacted the availability of burritos and quesadillas.

The shortage expanded nationwide. While we don’t have specifics on the root cause, they cited “supplier shortages”.

Taco Bell reported the problem was resolved by mid-July for most locations.

Video Spotlight:  Tortilla Trouble! Taco Bell Reportedly Suffering from a Tortilla Shortage

This post is based on the Daily Mail article, Taco Bell Warns Of Wrap Shortage As Staff Brand It The ‘Tortillapocalypse’ And Say It Could Hit Restaurants Across The U.S., by Ross Ibetson, July 3, 2019; the Food and Wine article, Taco Bell Confirms ‘Tortillapocalypse’ Is Real, Recommends Gorditas Instead, by Mike Pmranz, July 3, 2019, and the YouTube video, Tortilla Trouble! Taco Bell Reportedly Suffering from a Tortilla Shortageby b/60, July 3, 2019. Image source: cokemomo/123RF.

Discussion Questions: 

1. What steps should Taco Bell take to handle this type of shortage?

Guidance: Obviously, Taco Bell needs to react to this shortage and get tortillas to their restaurants as soon as possible.  They might even want to go to a backup or alternative supplier even if this is only temporary.  Additionally, they may want to promote other items on their menu—possibly offering discounts or sales.

2. What would be your recommendation to Taco Bell regarding their suppliers?

Guidance: It has been suggested that the shortage was caused by a change in suppliers.  KFC had a similar difficulty with chicken availability when it switched suppliers.  Taco Bell should examine the procedures used in the switchover.  Proper project management planning may be needed.  If this problem is from an ongoing supplier, review of this supplier should take place with possibilities of replacing the supplier, and having backup suppliers available being considered.


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