Well yes it happens and I can tell you WHY it happens.
It is all because of the Chinese Construction Industry.
Yeah right about now you are saying WTF!
Let me explain.
In the Chinese construction industry space is very limited. Because it is limited most of the time they do not have enough room to stockpile materials and parts so the Chinese came up with a brilliant solution. Its called "Just in time" ordering. They are masters at this. They time every part of the construction process like a well timed play or ballet. As a crane is lifting a steel beam up another one is arriving right on schedule for the next crane lift. It is rather amazing to see. It takes an exceptional amount of skill, communication, and planning but they do it perfectly because for their industry that is the only way it can be done.
Now American companies were built on the idea of "warehousing" and stockpiling materials. Plenty of room for storage, etc so they never had to implement "Just in time" ordering but rather perfected the stockpiling just enough business model which has worked since the industrial revolution in America.
But in many cases this stockpiling mentality increased costs. Perishable items or items with a shelf life would go bad and business owners would have to dispose of unsold stock, some would have to pay taxes on stock, etc.
So the American business owners looked for a better way. They watched how the Chinese Construction industry was able to implement "just in time" ordering with perfection and they thought "Here is are solution!" Instead of taking up store space with "stock rooms" or having to pay to have warehouses for stocked items they thought "If the Chinese can do it then we can do it better!".
This happened especially in the Fast Food Industry because (a) their stores are rather small and stock room space is limited and costly. A bigger dining area is more profitable than a bigger cooler. Also to control "shipping" variables, many of the fast food companies now run their own "shipping" departments. Have a few warehouses and ship the supplies via truck instead of having local storerooms or warehouses. They assumed since they owned the shipping aspect, not only could they control costs of materials (dough) they could also have a tighter control on quality. Instead of depending on local dough vendors they would supply their own dough from their own bakery and shipped on their own trucks and make a fortune!
The problem is they implemented "just in time" ordering with arrogance and a lack of understanding. In the fast food market the majority of the employees are not like Chinese construction workers who are older and skilled at what they do (career job) but instead are usually young, inexperienced entry level workers who are making a lot less money, have a lot less training, and have very little incentive to do an outstanding job. Face it, a teenager at the McDonalds drive through on average is not as worried about getting everything right as say a Chinese Welder who's family depends on his income.
So the American version of "just in time" is plagued with problems, lacks the finesse of the original model it was based on, and leads to very poor customer service.
Now the bean counters who are disconnected from the customer service front do not see this. Instead they see spread sheets where they justify their jobs by showing that Just In Time ordering is cutting down on overhead and costs. It is also cutting down on the quality of service.
The final nail in the coffin is since many of these "chains" depend on their own shipping and brand of supplies (like dough) when a local store runs low (maybe due to a few messed up orders and a big surge in traffic) they are at the mercy of their only supplier (themselves) who is not going to ship more dough until the morning.
"Mom and Pop" stores have an advantage here. If they are running low or run out, they can run to a local vendor (grocery store or baker) and get the materials where the chain store can do nothing but stop serving since they are locked into their own shipping model.
The business model is so dependent on the Trucking industry now it is rather scary. No one thinks about it much. What would happen if those 18 wheeler trucks you see on the road stopped for just a couple of days.
Well a study was done and it is frightening. If any authors are out there who write "Catastrophe" novels (x happens and the world may end) you might want to look into this.
Here is a report done that would scare the pants off of you. What would happen if trucks stopped for a week.http://www.truckline.com/Newsroom/White ... 0Stops.pdf
When one thinks about it most would think, nah not much would happen if trucks stopped for just a week. Read that pdf. It shows how much we depend on the "shipping industry". And our European friends who read that report may think "Well maybe in America but not here". Not true. There was a swedish report done as well. ABout the same exact results. Europe would face the same problems.
Sorry for the novel.