It was Saturday. I woke up and my Spider Senses were tingling. There was something wrong with the Matrix, and I could tell it was something big. I went about my weekend, not doing anything in particular, but I could tell things weren’t right. Monday I wake up to the news that KFCs across the UK have been closed.
The BBC reports that “KFC has closed 750 of its 900 UK outlets after delivery problems meant they ran out of chicken.” How does KFC run out of chicken? How can you run out of the sole reason for your existence? Surely chicken being a part of the title of your international brand name would mean you’d keep on top of any situations that would lead to a fiasco like this.
As it turns out, last week, the chain switched suppliers, from South African-owned distribution group Bidvest to a new outlet. This new outlet gravely underestimated KFC’s considerable chicken demand. Astonishing, as chicken is in the name of your new client so you’d assume they would want a lot.
Chicken destined for KFC is piled high at a warehouse chain distribution depot, after the firm’s new computer system failed, sparking distribution chaos and forcing the fast-food chain to close many of its UK branches. This poultry drought is costing Kentucky Fried Chicken as much as a $1.4 million a day.
In the distribution center, crate upon crate of chicken in plastic wrapping was pictured at a depot in Rugby, in the UK’s West Midlands. It’s still waiting to be loaded onto lorries. Probably the only people who are happy with these developments are KFC’s employees.
KFC stated that “team members on short-term contracts would be paid the average hours worked per day over the past 12 weeks, while employees on salaries would be paid as normal.” KFC gave no indication of when operations would be back to normal, but urged customers to check its website in order to find the nearest open restaurant. One insider said: “It’s not going to get better quickly. It won’t be days, it may be weeks.”
The new German delivery company took over, presumably to improve the efficiency of chicken distribution across the country. Not only has this catastrophe happened but there was also an accident that shut down a major highway on Valentine’s Day, the day the company took over delivery duties, that caused traffic chaos.
To appease the disgruntled customers, KFC is offering frequent updates on its website, as well as a list of still-open outlets. They tweeted “The Colonel is working on it,” reasoning that “getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex!”
“We won’t compromise on quality, so no deliveries has meant some of our restaurants are closed, and others are operating a limited menu, or shortened hours.” For now, it looks like you’ll be seeing a lot of “Sorry, we’re closed. We deliver our chickens fresh into our restaurants, but we’ve had a few hiccups with the delivery today.” I guess there’s always McDonald’s chicken tenders and nuggets.