The ongoing KFC crisis hasn’t affected the number of chickens being killed, the British Poultry Council said on Tuesday, as produce is diverted to other customers.
The majority of KFC’s 900 outlets in Britain were forced to shut this week when problems arose after the chain switched its delivery contract from Bidvest Logistics to DHL.
According to the GMB union this has led to 255 redundancies and the closure of a Bidvest depot.
KFC has said that salaried employees will still be paid while the shops are closed, but that this may vary for team members in franchises.
The British Poultry Council, which represents nearly 90% of the UK poultry meat sector, said that the meat destined for KFC stores has been diverted elsewhere.
“The production is as normal in the number of birds produced on a day-to-day basis, so no impact whatsoever on the supply base,” the spokesperson told HuffPost UK on Tuesday.
“It’s business as usual in terms of production and what’s happening is that the product is being diverted to other customers.”
When asked whether other outlets will be able to cope with the extra meat, the BPC said: “There’s no reason why other customers wouldn’t be able to sell the chickens.
“The market is increasing all the time and there’s nothing wrong with the chicken, there’s nothing wrong with the suppliers, everything is as normal.”
WHAT WE KNOW:
- 430 restaurants are open but 470 remain
- The shortage is due to the switching of supplier from Bidvest Logistics to DHL
- The GMB union said this switch has led to 255 redundancies
- KFC has so far refused to answer questions on whether shop staff are being paid or not during closures
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW:
- Where the chickens are
- Whether the chickens are dead, alive, frozen or just chilled
When asked by HuffPost UK whether staff at closed KFC restaurants are being paid, a spokesperson said in a statement: ”Yes. Our salaried employees will be paid as normal.
“Hourly-paid team members will be paid based on the average hours worked over the last 12 weeks.
“Franchisees are seeking their own independent advice, however, the majority are following similar policies to cover hours, so we believe that the vast majority of franchisee team members are being paid at this time.”
KFC said that staff are being encouraged to take holiday where possible, but they are not being forced to do so.
Where possible, staff have been redeployed onto alternative tasks or to other restaurants that remain open, KFC said.
KFC’s Twitter account announced the news yesterday with jovial tweets playing on an age-old joke.
Since then the public reaction has been one of comical dismay.
But a statement from the GMB Union spells out the human cost of the crisis - 255 jobs lost and KFC staff around the country not being paid.
Unfortunately, they chose to highlight this in a press release riddled with chicken puns.
Mick Rix, GMB National Officer said: ”We tried to warn KFC this decision would have consequences – well now the chickens are coming home to roost.
“Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them.
“It’s an absolute cock up. KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre – where conditions are an utter shambles.
“Three weeks ago KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.
“KFC’s bird-brained decision has caused untold misery to customers, to Bidvest workers and restaurant staff who are not being paid.
“Now they’ve been left with egg on their face.”
Courier company DHL is responsible for the error. A DHL spokesperson told HuffPost UK: “Due to operational issues a number of deliveries in recent days have been incomplete or delayed.
“We are working with KFC and our partners to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
The latest information from KFC sent to HuffPost UK 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.
“Fans can check our website – www.kfc.co.uk/crossed-the-road – to find out where their nearest open restaurant is.”
In the meantime, the jokes won’t be stopping.
Bidvest Logistics has been contacted for comment.