KFCs could be closed ‘for up to a month’
FRIED chicken fans could face up to a month before KFC returns to normal business in the UK.
A source close to the action - or lack of it - told the Sun Online that suppliers are being told to prepare for disruption for up to a month.
The fast-food chain was forced to close around 700 of its 870 UK stores after a catastrophic failure at KFC's new delivery firm DHL left them without chicken.
"We've been asked to prepare to run shop drops and we're hearing that it could be for up to a month," the source said.
"KFC are short of everything, not just chicken. It's the chips, the sides, the lot.
"We saw problems coming when they dropped Bidvest for DHL because that meant they were going from three warehouses to one.
"The communications were so vague and they didn't seem to know what they were doing.
"And on the first day, we didn't receive orders until almost five hours after we were supposed to. That caused delays straight away."
It's believed that suppliers are now being told to drop goods directly to KFC branches, bypassing DHL completely.
Problems have been since business began when KFC's new delivery firm DHL took over from Bidvest on Wednesday last week.
Insiders told the Sun Online that some lorry drivers were forced to wait up to 15 hours for the food to be taken into storage at the depot in Rugby, before bosses pulled the supplies back.
They said: "Normally, they're given a two hour slot for them to unload the goods.
"Some delivery lorries were sat in traffic for hours, parked up in the yard and on the road.
"I've been in the business for 40 years and I have never seen anything like it before. Nobody knew what they were doing at all. It was comical."
Since 2pm today, KFC have said that at least 430 restaurants are now open - leaving 440 still closed - but many of them are offering limited menus or have cut their hours.
A KFC spokesperson said: "We anticipate the number of closures will reduce today and over the coming days as our teams work flat out all hours to clear the backlog.
"Each day more deliveries are being made, 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."
While some fried chicken fans have been left upset and frustrated about the stores closures, some KFC workers are worried that they might not be paid.
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.
However, 80 per cent of KFC outlets are run on a franchise basis.
"Franchisees will be seeking their own independent advice, but we're encouraging them to adopt this policy too," said the chain.
John Boulter from DHL told the Sun Online: "DHL regrets the interruption of supply and is working diligently to rectify the situation by working with KFC and other partners involved in the supply chain.
"The reasons for this unforeseen interruption of this complex service are being worked on with a goal to return to normal service levels as soon as possible.
"With the help of our partner QSL, we are committed to step by step improvements to allow KFC to reopen its stores over the coming days.
"While we are not the only party responsible for the supply chain to KFC, we do apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to KFC and their customers by this incident."