KFC’s raison d’etre is chicken. So, one would assume, they would ensure at all costs that it has chicken in stock.
But, in what is now being termed the ‘great fry crisis of 2018’, (somewhat unbelievably) the majority of KFC outlets had to be closed as they did not have enough chicken. So desperate were KFC fans that some turned to their MPs. Others called the police.
But behind the array of jokes and puns this crisis has spawned there lies a more serious story.
Problems began when DHL (best known for parcel deliveries) took over the delivery service from specialist food distribution group Bidvest. GMB, the union that represents Bidvest workers, had already warned DHL were undercutting them and KFC were likely to suffer distribution problems as a result. By the time KFC realised the scale of their mistake, it was too late.
The impact for Bidvest, who suffered 255 job losses and had to close a distribution warehouse, and KFC Staff, who were ‘encouraged’ to take holiday, has been huge. KFC said staff on short-term contacts working in restaurants owned by the chain would be paid the average hours worked per day over the past 12 weeks, while those on salaries would be paid as normal. Franchisees (80% of KFC outlets are franchises) were left seeking independent advice as to what they should do. If staff of franchisees were on zero hour contracts then the contract would not guarantee them work and there would be no obligation for them to be paid. As a result of this, it was reported that some workers had started looking for new jobs.