Finger licking fans of KFC face the prospect of another nationwide shortage of their beloved fried chicken, as the fast food chain gears up to switch suppliers.
A year ago, supply-chain difficulties forced the temporary closure of 570 of the company’s 900 restaurants – and some hungry customers even called the police – as wasted poultry mouldered in DHL depots after a computer system malfunction.
Today an insider told The Sun that ‘more disruption awaits’ following KFC’s decision to switch back to catering supplier Best Food Logistics for their deliveries, after DHL did not re-bid for the contract.
KFC took out full-page adverts in newspapers last year to apologise for the supply disruption
Closed doors (left) and shuttered shopfronts (right) greeted KFC customers last February
Last February’s fiasco began after the fast-food giant switched its delivery contract from Best Food – then called Bidvest – to German-owned DHL.
When an accident shut the M6, causing traffic gridlock and reportedly leaving DHL lorries sat in traffic for hours, it created a knock-on effect sparking a huge backlog of deliveries.
The disruption rippled up the supply chain to a DHL delivery hub in Rugby, with KFC saying it had become aware of a problem in the software around a new computer ordering and delivery system.
DHL blamed ‘operational issues’ for the supply disruption, which then with KFC outlets in the North East, London, Kent, East Anglia, the Midlands and the south of England all reporting that they had run out of some chicken products.
How the great chicken crisis of 2018 unfolded
Wednesday February 14 – DHL takes over delivery duties for KFC from Bidvest Logistics to supply food products and packaging to KFC restaurants.
A new computer software system developed to manage orders and deliveries fails, triggering a delivery chaos.
There was also an accident that shut the M6 on Valentine’s Day, that caused traffic chaos.
Friday February 16 – Shortage started to bite at KFC outlets.
Saturday/Sunday February 17/18 – Crisis worsens over the weekend.
Monday February 19 – The system collapsed completely. Almost 700 stores are closed.
Tuesday February 20 – 470 KFC stores remained shut
At the peak of the poultry scarcity 575 restaurants, the vast majority owned by franchisees, had to be shuttered.
Now new problems are forecast, follwing DHL’s decision to pull out when Best Food said it could undercut the contract, delivering a cage of chicken for £22 compared to £24.50.
Sources told the Sun fear Best Food’s plans and routes are unrealistic, and ‘feathers will fly’.
A source said: ‘KFC fans should rightly be worried. More disruption awaits.’
KFC told the paper: ‘We had a tough year and have been working really hard to continue to deliver fresh chicken every day.
‘We’ve decided to switch back to Best Food who have done a great job in supporting us while we got back on track.’
DHL will consult staff. Some may transfer suppliers. The firm is keen to bring a new customer to Rugby.