Restaurants struggle to “ketchup” with condiment demand

America is in the middle of a ketchup shortage

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- First it was toilet paper and cleaning supplies, now the latest COVID-19 shortage is ketchup. Not the bottled variety, but the individual packets.

The dog days of summer may not be the same without burgers and French fries favorite companion. America is facing a ketchup shortage. The latest and arguably oddest shortage brought on by COVID-19. “Supply and demand. Everyone is going through more.”, says Rudy’s manager Justin Smith. 

Rudy’s Drive-In and other restaurants nation-wide are keeping their dining rooms closed, shifting to take-out only.  A shift that has made individual, ketchup packets the most valuable condiment currency for both national chains and mom-and-pop restaurants. 

Rudy’s supply has been cut in half. “We keep 15 on hand for the weekend and this weekend I’m starting out with eight.”, says Smith. Rudy’s servers are making up for the shortage bdropped fewer packets in each bag and by sending out cups of ketchup with family-size orders. 

So far, Rudy’s dwindling stock-pile has satisfied the appetite of all its ketchup craving customers, but the drive-in season are just getting started and distributors can’t say when supply will…. catch-up. 

Ketchup isn’t the only hard to get item. Rudy’s is also having a hard time getting State Fair corndogs. Its unclear why.