• 82°

Chicken shortage can lead to new experiences

Are you the kind of person who orders the same thing every time you go to a restaurant? Or do you like to sample the whole menu?

Personally, I fall into that first category probably about 95 percent of the time. I find something on the menu that I absolutely love, and I just can’t pass up the opportunity to order it whenever I’m at that restaurant.

Maybe that habit has something to do with avoiding disappointment. If I pick the same thing every time, I know for sure I’m going to enjoy it. And I definitely want to enjoy my meals! I’m sure we’ve all experienced the anticipation of a good meal you’re really looking forward to and then feel devastated afterwards when it turns out to be just mediocre. Or worse: absolutely awful! It can ruin your whole day!

So to be safe, I stick with my “usual order” when I go to different restaurants. I remember when I used to work outside of Gaston, I’d visit the nearby Hardees or Burger King usually once a week. After a while, they seemed to know my order before I’d even say anything. I rarely ever switched it up.

Why would I skip out on a definitely delicious meal to try a potentially disappointing one? That sounds as dangerous to me as playing with fire.

I would guess that other people with the same mindset as me like to “play it safe” with more things than just restaurant orders. We can wear our same old clothes because we know they’re nice and comfy and fit just right. We can rewatch our favorite TV shows and movies because we know we’re going to love the ending. We stick to our regular routine because it’s a lot easier most of the time while dealing with our crazy busy lives.

Then, of course, there are the other kind of people: the ones who like to try something new all the time. They’re fearless. New crazy item on the fast food menu which looks like it might induce a medical condition with the first bite? Sure, let’s try it! They’re the people you ask for recommendations when you try a new place to eat because they’ve sampled everything on the menu and know which foods are best avoided.

I respect those people even if I don’t understand their bravery!

And I may even have to break out of my comfort zone and be more like the menu samplers soon, thanks to a recent poultry shortage across the country.

At the end of April, customers visiting Bojangles in different parts of North Carolina were met with signs warning them that the restaurant is temporarily out of Supremes (the name for their chicken tenders, for any of you who don’t choose to eat there). It’s one of their most popular menu items, and my personal favorite!

I visited the restaurant earlier this week (May 3) and the signs were still up. Luckily, I can make a meal off of the fries and a chedder-bo biscuit from there too, so I definitely didn’t go hungry. But maybe if this goes on long enough, I might venture out to try a couple of other different things on the menu too!

A Bojangles representative told WRAL in an article on April 30, “our supply team has been working around the clock to ensure all restaurants have what they need to fill orders. We appreciate your patience and understanding given the chicken shortage that’s affecting our entire industry. In the meantime, there’s no shortage of Cajun Filet Biscuits.”

According to reporting from ABC11, North Carolina Poultry Federation officials have said the lack of chicken is a result of multiple factors, including pandemic-related supply chain issues and residual impact of the winter storms that hit the Gulf a few months back. Plenty, but not all, of the country’s chicken supply comes from that area.

An article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Pennsylvania said a “fried chicken craze” is also partially to blame for the increasing demand. KFC said they’re struggling to keep up with demand for their new chicken sandwich. McDonald’s said their new chicken sandwich sales are “exceeding expectations.”

Chicken wings are in high demand too apparently.

Charles Morrison, the chairman for Wingstop, was quoted in the Post-Gazette explaining that chicken suppliers are struggling to find enough labor to process the birds.

I’m not sure how long the shortage issues will last, but I’m certain it won’t be forever. Chickens haven’t gone extinct!

On the bright side, the lack of some of our usual favorite menu items means that some of us can finally try something new for a change.

And if you happen to know any local chicken farmers or poultry production workers, tell them thank you for the work they’re continuing to do.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.