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KFC shuts more stores in chicken chaos

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KFC has closed more of its outlets in the UK after delivery problems meant it ran out of chicken.

Its website shows that 646 of the fast-food chain’s 900 outlets in its UK-based division were shut as of 11:25 on Tuesday morning.

That compares with 575 that were closed at 21:00 on Monday.

Last week, the fried chicken chain switched its delivery contract to DHL, which has blamed “operational issues” for the supply disruption.

It is not yet clear how many outlets will open for business later on Tuesday.

However, 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.”

How many KFCs are open?

By totting up the latest figures on the firm’s website, it seems 254 of the outlets were open as of 11:25 on Tuesday morning, compared with 325 at 21:00 on Monday.

However, even some of these are only offering a limited menu or have shorter opening hours.

KFC has set up a web page where “fans” can find their nearest outlet that is still open.

What caused the problems?

Until 13 February, KFC’s chicken was delivered by specialist food distribution group Bidvest.

But after the contract switched to DHL, many of the food giant’s outlets began running out of chicken products.

The GMB union said it had tried to warn KFC that switching from Bidvest to DHL was a mistake. The change led to 255 job losses and the closure of a Bidvest depot, said Mick Rix, GMB national officer.

He said: “Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them.

“KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre. Three weeks ago, KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.”

The distribution network uses software developed by the firm Quick Service Logistics (QSL).

DHL said: “Due to operational issues, a number of deliveries in recent days have been incomplete or delayed. We are working with our partners, KFC and QSL, to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience.”

How long are the problems likely to persist?

A spokesman for the firm said as of Monday, it was “too early to tell” how long the problems would go on for.

How much is it likely to cost KFC?

KFC’s spokesman said he did not have a figure, but any calculation is likely to be complicated by the fact that 95% of KFC’s outlets in the UK are run by franchisees.

Some media reports say the crisis could be costing the chain £1m a day, but any such figure at this stage is likely to involve a large amount of guesswork.

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What’s happening to KFC staff?

Workers are being encouraged to take holiday, but would not be forced to do so, the company has said.

“Our teams are working flat out all hours to get the rest back up and running as soon as possible – but it’s too early to say how long it will take to clear the backlog.”

It said that in the restaurants owned by the chain, staff on short-term contracts would be paid the average hours worked per day over the past 12 weeks, while those on salaries would be paid as normal.

“Franchisees will be seeking their own independent advice, but we’re encouraging them to adopt this policy too,” said the chain.

Do you work for KFC or DHL? What has been your experience of the past few days? You can share your story by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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