It's not been a great couple of weeks for lovers of fried chicken in the UK. While KFC connoisseurs living in America were able to enjoy fried chicken from KFC and its various quirky marketing campaigns, across the Atlantic there was only chaos. A change in supplier meant that hundreds of British franchises were left without the "FC" part of "KFC", and the Great Chicken Drought of 2018 left the majority of restaurants closed in the United Kingdom.
People weren't happy. KFC tried to appeal to our sense of humor with their amusing apology ad, but we only laughed to keep from crying. A woman went viral after lamenting that she'd have to go to Burger King instead, and if there was one phrase to summarize the general malaise surrounding this fried chicken fiasco, I think that'd be it.
But soon enough, KFC got things under control. DHL, the company behind the initial delivery cluster-cluck, recovered and righted themselves after what was dubbed a "teething problem", and slowly, KFC locations around the United Kingdom began to reopen. But as people drifted back into their nearest Finger-Lickin' location, they noticed something else was awry with their primary source of fried chicken.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson from KFC's owners Yum Brands have confirmed that the vast majority of their locations around the United Kingdom were now open, but were now running what they termed a "reduced menu". One of the biggest casualties was the omission of gravy from the KFC menu.
"Due to the ongoing distribution challenges DHL is experiencing, some restaurants are continuing to serve a reduced menu. We're working as hard as we can to get this sorted out. We know that our gravy is a big favourite!"
When I learned of this news, I shed a single tear for my brethren in the UK, and needless to say, people were furious. My heart especially goes out to loyal customer Ron Sanderson from Birmingham in the West Midlands, who posted: “Disaster. Took the grandkids out to dinner at KFC only to see that it’s shut down. Some chicken shortage. Took them to McDonald’s but it’s not the same. Crying in the bathroom. Can’t show weakness in front of them."
Police all across the country were inundated with calls from furious customers, while on the internet, people didn't hold back either. Unsurprisingly.
After such a tough February, it remains to be seen if KFC can bounce back from this distribution disaster in March, but if the first day of the month is anything to go by, it's looking like a difficult start to the year for the fried chicken experts.
In the meantime, those of us in America and around the rest of the world should show our sympathy for the Brits in this most difficult time. Such a tragedy could happen anywhere, anytime, and I think that it's important we're all prepared for that most dark of eventualities.