So Burger King is low on the ribs for a special they are running (After 10 Million Ribs, Burger King Begins to Run Out, Jun 11, Wall Street Journal). Insert your own short rib joke here.
Amid brisk demand, some Burger King outlets have already exhausted their supply of the relatively pricey new pork ribs, and the company expects to use up its entire rib order in the next week or so, said John Schaufelberger, Burger King’s senior vice president of global product marketing and innovation. That means the limited-time offer on the ribs, slated to end June 20, may be cut short. …
Burger King placed the order at least four months in advance to give supplier Tyson Foods Inc. enough lead time and to secure the best price for the ribs, which are cooked on the bone.
The complication here is in forecasting. BK did some test markets and the three-piece offering of ribs sold well. Once they rolled the ribs out nationwide, larger orders (six or eight pieces) took off. Hence, 10 million ribs have not been enough. This is a problem inherent in newsvendor settings; it is rarely going to be worthwhile to cover all possible demand realizations so you will sometimes be caught short.