KFC falls fowl in UK with supply crisis of chicken

Hundreds of KFC outlets remained shut in Britain yesterday due to a supply crisis, leaving fans craving a fix of deep-fried chicken.

Hundreds of KFC outlets remained shut in Britain yesterday due to a supply crisis, leaving fans craving a fix of deep-fried chicken.

“I want my burrito wrap!” 31-year-old Karen Brian said outside an outlet of the US fast-food chain at Victoria Station in central London. “KFC is a well-known brand and they can’t sell chicken?” 

Kustiyah Bego, 42, also expressed disbelief: “It doesn’t make sense for me. I eat chicken every day.”

“I don’t understand. Is there really a lack of chicken?” she said.

The shortages blamed on a switch of chicken supplier by KFC started over the weekend and are expected to last all week in some parts of Britain, leading to widespread online mockery for the chain.

“So @KFC have run out of chicken. This is how the apocalypse starts,” wrote Twitter user @jonevans78, while @Brad_Langford said: “How will the nation cope?”

Others, like meat substitute maker Quorn, spotted an opportunity, with the company tweeting its offer of “Quorn Crispy Nuggets for a meat-free alternative.”

KFC said yesterday about 450 of its 900 outlets remained closed after “operational issues” with new German delivery supplier DHL left them without poultry supplies.

There were reports of desperate KFC employees taking the initiative and buying chicken themselves, while the Daily Mail reported that crates of undelivered chicken at a DHL depot would have to be destroyed.

“Some chickens have now crossed the road,” the company said in a statement on Twitter, providing devotees with a link to a list of restaurants that are open. “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.”

“We’ve brought a new delivery partner onboard, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems — getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex,” KFC said.

“We know that this might have inconvenienced some of you over the last few days, and disappointed you when you wanted your fried chicken fix,” the company added.

With some customers apparently suffering withdrawal symptoms, one London police department tweeted: “Please do not contact us about the #KFCcrisis — it is not a police matter if your favorite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire.”

DHL’s managing director of retail, John Boulter, said the delivery firm was working to “return to normal service levels as soon as possible. The reasons for this unforeseen interruption of this complex service are being worked on.” 

The KFC outlet at Victoria Station eventually opened an hour later than normal yesterday due to supply issues, according to staff.

But 41-year-old Jamie Pitcher said her two local KFC restaurants in Essex were still shut, calling the situation “terrible.”

Pitcher said she normally goes to KFC twice a month and particularly liked the bucket portions.

“I can understand why people are angry or sad but it is not worth being upset.”