646 of KFC’s 900 UK restaurants were temporarily closed as of Tuesday morning due to a lack of fresh chicken. The fast food company experienced a serious disruption to its supply chain after transferring its delivery contract from Bidvest to DHL as of 13 February, with over half its outlets closed at the beginning of the week.
The number of restaurants closed due to lack of supplies has since increased, while others are open with reduced menus.
KFC has assured workers at those outlets owned by the chain that they will be paid as normal during the closure period. But 80% of KFC branches are independent franchises and will make their own decisions regarding employment contracts.
A spokesperson from KFC said that workers were being encouraged to use their annual holiday allowance until the problems were rectified, but that this was not compulsory. The company said that it was presently unclear how long the situation would last.
“Our teams are working flat out all hours to get the rest back up and running as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said. “But it’s too early to say how long it will take to clear the backlog.”
GMB Union National Officer Mick Rix said that KFC’s decision to switch distributors in order to source savings had caused Bidvest to close one UK depot and shed 255 jobs.
“Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience,” Rix said. “DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them. KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre. Three weeks ago KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.”
DHL blamed operational issues and said that it was working urgently to rectify the situation.
Nick has over 30 years procurement experience in consulting, outsourcing and line roles within industry with international experience across many sectors and industries and led many procurement programs with blue chip organisations.