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Hundreds of KFC stores still shut in chicken delivery fiasco

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="">Hundreds of KFC stores still shut in chicken delivery fiasco</a>

KFC still had hundreds of restaurants closed on Tuesday, warning it expected disruption to last at least a few more days after "teething problems" with a new delivery contractor meant it ran out of chicken.

The fast-food chain's website said in a mid-morning update that just over 250 of its nearly 900 restaurants in the UK and Ireland (Other OTC: IRLD - news) were open, compared to about 320 the evening before.

There was confusion when, earlier in the day - and apparently due to a glitch - it had said that just three sites - in Glasgow, Hereford, and Luton - were up and running as of 11am.

The number grew steadily to 450 by late afternoon as chicken deliveries were completed.

However, KFC was yet to respond to requests for information by Sky News concerning food quality standards and waste - given that chicken supplies had been delayed or disrupted by up to five days.

There is currently no information to suggest any bad practice or give customers cause for concern.

KFC has said it is working "flat out" to reopen branches after problems with deliveries forced closures from Friday.

A 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."

Customers voiced their frustration on social media, with stories of children crying as they missed out on a treat.

In London, police even had to warn that the so-called "KFC crisis" was not a matter for them.

KFC staff have also had to change their plans.

The chain said that where possible, they would be "redeployed onto alternative tasks or to other restaurants that remain open".

It added that where possible it was encouraging team members to take holiday though not forcing them.

Salaried employees will be paid as normal, while others on short term contracts will be paid the average hours worked per day over the last 12 weeks, the company said.

KFC said it was encouraging franchisees to adopt the same policies despite operating their own contracts of employment.

The fast-food chain last week switched its delivery contract from Bidvest to DHL - the GMB union accusing KFC of an own goal, saying it had warned the company selecting a cheaper contract would backfire.

In a light-hearted statement on its website informing consumers about the problems, the restaurant said: "The chicken crossed the road, just not to our restaurants." It had closed many outlets, KFC said, because it would not compromise on quality.

DHL's managing director for the retail supply chain, John Boulter, said on Tuesday evening: "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 (Other OTC: WWTH - news) the help of our partner QSL, we are committed to step by step improvements to allow KFC to re-open its stores over the coming days.

"Whilst 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."