Trucker Shortage Pushing Restaurants to Buy Local

McDonald's container truck

The nation’s low unemployment rate is making it harder to fill truck driver openings, especially for routes requiring several days away from home. Bonuses are being offered to lure more truckers, adding to the trend of higher food costs. Restaurants are countering by buying local ingredients, which fortunately have high appeal.

U.S. shipping rates jumped 14 percent in the year ended June 30, sending truck use to nearly 100 percent capacity, according to Freight Transportation Research Associates. Restaurants are facing higher prices, and to avoid passing them along to customers, they’re shopping closer to home.

...Marsh [Nick Marsh, CEO of 50+ outlet Chopt Creative Salad Co.] said Chopt’s shipping costs jumped 20 percent versus last year. He blamed the spike on the driver shortage, along with new electronic monitoring that tracks truckers’ hours put in place by the Department of Transportation in December. [Leslie Patton, Bloomberg]

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