Restaurants withdrawing egg-based dishes amid supply crunch

Courtesy of Skylark Holdings Co.
The Bamiyan restaurant chain has suspended this egg-based dish amid the ongoing egg shortage.

Almost 30% of major dining operators have suspended egg-based dishes or intend to do so amid short supplies and rising prices for the chicken-derived staple, a survey has found.

The supply crunch has been exacerbated by soaring feed costs and an outbreak of avian flu. Some industry experts say negative effects from the shortage could persist for up to 12 months.

Since the start of the year, 28 of the 100 major restaurant operators listed on the stock market have withdrawn egg-based menu items or declared plans to do so, according to a survey conducted by Teikoku Databank Ltd.

Initially, the trend only affected such items as tartar sauce and tamagotoji (simmered dishes to which beaten eggs are added as a finishing touch). However, the range of affected items has since expanded to include pancakes and chawanmushi (savory steamed egg custard), among other offerings.

“The egg shortage will likely continue for around six to 12 months, meaning more egg-based items could disappear from menus,” a Teikoku Databank official said.

Among the brands operated by Skylark Holdings Co., the Gusto family restaurant chain has suspended the serving of fried eggs as a topping, while Bamiyan, a Chinese restaurant chain, no longer offers such dishes as tenshinhan (crab omelet served on rice).

McDonald’s Co. (Japan) announced in March that it would suspend sales of its Teritama burger series at some outlets. The burgers, which are usually offered for a limited period each year, remain unavailable at some outlets, according to the operator.

“Egg dishes are very popular and the egg shortage has had a serious impact,” a spokesperson for a restaurant company said. “We have to develop menu items on the assumption that the shortage will continue for some time.”

According to JA.Z-Tamago Co., a major egg wholesaler, the average wholesale price for medium-sized eggs in the Tokyo area in April was ¥350 per kilogram, marking the highest figure since 1993 and a 65% rise from the previous year.