Beloved Wetherspoons breakfast under threat as pub chain sounds alarm over egg shortages

15 November 2022, 13:32 | Updated: 15 November 2022, 13:39

Wetherspoons breakfast could be under threat
Wetherspoons breakfast could be under threat. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Pub-goers may not be able to order the familiar Wetherspoons full English breakfast, the pub chain has warned, as the UK faces a severe shortage of eggs.

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Wetherspoons said that punters may be offered hash browns, sausages or onion rings instead of eggs for breakfast in future.

A spokesperson for the pub chain said: "We can confirm that there are temporary issues with egg supplies at some Wetherspoon pubs, due to the current impact of Avian flu on egg production."

We are experiencing issues in receiving all the supplies we require to satisfy demand in every pub.

“This is not specific to Wetherspoon and other hospitality operators and supermarkets are facing similar issues."

Customers could be offered alternatives to eggs at Wetherspoons
Customers could be offered alternatives to eggs at Wetherspoons. Picture: Getty

It comes after some stores also told customers of limits on the number of eggs they can buy.

Shoppers can buy a maximum of three egg boxes in Lidl, with reports of shelves in some Sainsbury's stores and other chains also looking bare.

Many birds that would have produced eggs are also thought to have died in the extreme summer heatwave, exacerbating shortages.

But one farmer claimed that egg shortages were also driven by supermarkets not paying enough to producers like him.

Empty shelves in a supermarket this year
Empty shelves in a supermarket this year. Picture: Getty

The man said: "To be fair, there has been a lot of cases of avian flu. But do you want to know the real reason for the shortages?

"It's because the supermarkets won't pay the farmers for the eggs. The supermarkets have upped the price for you, the consumer. But they haven't filtered that price increase down to us, the farmers.

Read more: Supermarkets using security barriers to protect staff from desperate shoppers snatching yellow-label items

The unnamed man claimed that farmers have ordered eight million fewer free range hens this year than last year - equating to nearly eight million fewer eggs produced every day.

Addressing the avian flu issue, Christine Middlemiss, chief veterinary officer, said: "Many poultry keepers in England have excellent biosecurity standards but we know that one small mistake is all it takes to introduce bird flu on to premises and kill flocks.

"A housing order alone will not be enough to reduce infection rates. Implementing scrupulous biosecurity and separating flocks from wild birds remains the best form of defence.

"Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, from today onwards they must be housed under cover to protect them from this highly infectious disease."

"But our cost of producing the eggs has skyrocketed. Electric, the price of new birds - that's gone up. But our price of eggs has stayed the same.

"So we. physically, can't afford to produce these eggs."

Tim Martin
Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin. Picture: Getty

It comes after Wetherspoons revealed the seven latest pubs to be sold off, taking the total this year to 39, amid difficult conditions for the hospitality sector.

None of the pubs will close until the company has found a buyer, Wetherspoons said.

Wetherspoons now has 23 fewer pubs than it did in March 2021, when the company had 870 locations and was investing £150 million in upgrades and refurbishments.

Read more: Pubs warn of closures by Christmas and bosses plead for help as energy bills jump by as much as £33,000

Read more: Wetherspoons sells off 32 pubs as it faces £30m loss – is your local up for sale?

The full 39 so far are below:

Barnsley – Silkstone Inn

Beaconsfield – Hope & Champion

Bexleyheath – Wrong ‘Un

Bournemouth – Christopher Creeke

Cheltenham – Bank House

Crediton - General Sir Redvers Buller

Derby - Thomas Leaper

Durham – Water House

Fareham - Lord Arthur Lee

Fraserburgh - Saltoun Inn in Fraserburgh

Halifax – Percy Shaw

Hammersmith - Plough & Harrow

Hanham – Jolly Sailor

Harrow – Moon on the Hill

Holloway - Coronet

Hove – Cliftonville Inn

London Battersea – Asparagus

London East Ham – Miller's Well

London Eltham – Bankers Draft

London Forest Gate – Hudson Bay

London Forest Hill – Capitol

London Hornsey – Toll Gate

London Holborn – Penderel's Oak

London Islington – Angel

London Palmers Green – Alfred Herring

Loughborough – Moon & Bell

Loughton – Last Post

Mansfield – Widow Frost

Middlesborough – Resolution

Peebles - Cross Keys

Purley – Foxley Hatch

Redditch – Rising Sun

Sevenoaks - Sennockian

Southampton – Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis

Stafford – Butler's Bell

Watford – Colombia Press

West Bromwich – Billiard Hall

Willenhall – Malthouse

Wirral – John Masefield