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One in 10 KFC staff could be worse off after chicken delivery crisis

Bradley Gerrard
KFC with closed sign - REUTERS

The chicken delivery crisis which led to the closure of most of KFC’s stores this week could see one in 10 of its staff worse off, the company has said.

The majority of KFC’s 900 stores are run under a franchise model, meaning they are effectively independent businesses and do not have to abide by the fast food brand’s own internal employment policies.

The company, owned by US food giant Yum Brands, said its franchisees had sought advice on whether they should pay staff at stores which were forced to close this week after logistics firm DHL was unable to get chicken to all of KFC’s shops.

Feedback from its franchisees showed that while most would pay staff, the remaining 10pc might not earn what they would have done during normal trading.

“From the information we have been given, nine out of 10 (in 708 of 780 restaurants) of our team members will not be financially worse off this week than they would have been if we were fully operational,” a KFC spokesman said.

“While not perfect, the remaining 10pc are ensuring that they do everything possible to provide hours or take paid leave.”

Where did it go wrong for the KFC supply chain?

KFC said its staff had been “incredibly understanding” and that while stores had been closed some workers had even gone to the DHL depot in Rugby to help with the backlog.

Nearly 70pc of its restaurants (628 out of 900) are now open for business but KFC said it expected the disruption would continue to hit some sites for the rest of the week. These locations would either remain closed or operate with a reduced menu for shorter hours.

A crash on the M6 near DHL’s Rugby site last week is thought to have sparked the backlog, as its lorries were caught in gridlock which then led to deliveries being late or not turning up at all.

Rugby Borough Council today confirmed they did not know DHL was using the site to store fresh chicken. It said the site had not been registered as a cold storage facility, which the delivery firm will need to do within the next couple of days. 

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “It’s taken days to uncover the real truth about the shambles at this DHL hub that has plunged KFC’s supply chain into total chaos."

DHL did not respond to requests for comment. 

DHL only took on the KFC contract last week and industry insiders told The Telegraph that it “raised eyebrows” when the Deutsche Post-owned company won the business given their relative inexperience compared to incumbent Bidvest.