Kraft is turning the shortage into a marketing opportunity, with the food manufacturer paying shoppers $20 if they can’t find cream cheese at the store. On Dec. 17 and Dec. 18, the first 18,000 people who sign up will be reimbursed. Later on, users will be able to submit their receipt to receive the $20.

The cream cheese shortage had hit the restaurants

The cream cheese shortage hit Junior’s, a restaurant chain in New York City known for their cheesecakes, for the first time since opening in 1950, according to Alan Rosen, the third-generation owner of Junior’s.

Rosen says the business didn’t get its first delivery two Thursdays ago. So he says he shut down production in Burlington, New Jersey, where it makes the cakes, on half of a Thursday and a Friday. On Saturday, he drove to the cream cheese warehouses in Pennsylvania to pick up the cream cheese, as he wanted to make sure the business could produce for Sunday, an important day, especially, during the holidays, he says. There was another shut down last Thursday. “There’s no way to make cheesecake without cream cheese,” says Rosen. Cream cheese makes up 85% of Junior’s cheesecake.

Junior’s typically receives 120,000 pounds of cream cheese each week, but the business had missed out on a couple out a couple of loads last week, he says. The price of cream cheese has also gone up 8%, leading the company, which also makes cheesecakes for retailers, to bump up prices, according to Rosen. Along with it, he says the business is facing shortages in plastic, which is used to make the dome to protect the cakes.

Rosen says people tell him to use ricotta cheese instead. His response: “We don’t make Italian cheesecake. There’s no substitute for cream cheese and cheesecake.”

It’s not clear when the shortage will end. Rosen says the business is being told that deliveries are coming as scheduled, but he says the issue could pop up again. “There’s a reason our cheese can taste the way it tastes,” he says. “We’ve been using that cream cheese since 1950. Our recipe hasn’t change an ounce.”

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