Last month saw an unprecedented number of UK KFC branches closed after the fast food giants ran out of chicken. I’m sure even if you have never heard of or stepped foot into a KFC, you can understand that a food chain call “Kentucky Fried CHICKEN” running out of chicken could pose them with somewhat of a problem.
Last month well over half of the chains outlets in the UK were forced to shut their doors after, what was being dubbed as “the great 2018 chicken drought”. Distraught chicken lovers took to social media to vent their outrage after showing up at their local KFC only to find its shutters were down.
What actually happened?
A spokesperson from KFC has said that, they have had “An ongoing operational issue, with the company’s new distribution system which has caused the shortage of chicken”. KFC has recently changed its delivery partner contract from the specialist food distribution group Bidvest to DHL.
This transition happen on the February 13th since then various outlets of the food giant have not been receiving deliveries and have been running out of chicken due to a “few teething problems” subsequently causing the outlets to close their doors.
DHL made a statement; “Due to operational issues, a number of deliveries in recent days have been incomplete or delayed.” “We are working with our partners, KFC and QSL to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience caused”.
A day after this statement from DHL, A spokeswoman for Rugby borough council, which is responsible for food and environmental health standards in the area, said “DHL has been storing all KFC chicken at a single unregistered cold storage facility the council had been unaware that the building was being used to store fresh chicken until reading about DHL’s storage site in the press.
The storage depot at the centre of KFC chicken crisis had not been registered or inspected until an emergency visit on Tuesday, a local council has revealed. There is no requirement for the DHL cold storage facility to be licensed, but it does need to be registered. We have now received the relevant documentation and expect to be able to approve the registration in the next few days.”
KFC confirmed that some poultry will have to be destroyed at the depot. KFC said it was trying to “minimise wastage” at the depot. A spokeswoman added: “To be clear, nothing will leave for delivery or be served at our restaurants that haven’t met our incredibly high standards.
“At this stage, we don’t know [how much chicken will be destroyed], but we are doing everything we can to avoid wastage.”
KFC also confirmed that DHL is waiting for its cold storage licence application to be approved by the council.
When will the problem be fixed?
It was not immediately clear just how long the chicken shortage would last, but KFC said on Tuesday (20th February) that it expects some stores to remain closed for the rest of the week.
A KFC spokesman said staff are working “flat out” with delivery drivers working around the clock in an effort to ensure that all stores could reopen by the end of the week to clear the backlog, adding that outlets that do open in the coming days may not have chicken on the menu.
He said: “We anticipate the number of closures will reduce today and over the coming days as our teams work flat out all hours to clear the backlog.
“Each day more deliveries are being made, however, we expect the disruption to some restaurants to continue over the remainder of the week, meaning some will be closed and others operating with a reduced menu or shortened hours.”
The Manchester and London police forces have both tweeted asking for frustrated customers not to call the police over the chicken “crisis”.
So with KFC having over 50% over its stores closed at one point, and a slightly tarnished reputation, I am sure that the loss in profit will be no poultry sum. And we can only hope that they had insurance to cover it, otherwise I’m sure they will be in a fowl mood.
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