More than 500 KFC stores remain closed after a new delivery contract with DHL sparked chicken shortages across the country.
The company released an updated list of outlets that were still open as of 9pm on Monday night – though KFC said earlier in the day that many were offering limited menus or had cut their hours.
A spokeswoman said 575 of KFC’s nearly 900 stores were closed due to the shortage.
Customers took to social media to voice their despair, with Ron Sanderson posting: “Disaster. Took the grandkids out to dinner at KFC only to see that it’s shut down. Some chicken shortage. Took them to McDonald’s but it’s not the same. Crying in the bathroom. Can’t show weakness in front of them. #KFCCrisis”
Daniel Watts wrote: “It’s crazy to think in 50 years that we will be able to turn round to our grandchildren and say I remember the kfc chicken crisis of 18”, while another added: “Do u know what I would eat? chips done in the kfc batter. kentucky fried chips.”
KFC gave no indication of when operations would be back to normal but encouraged diners to check its website in order to find the nearest open restaurant.
“We’re updating this as regularly as we can, and our teams are working around the cluck to get the rest back up and running as soon as possible”, KFC UK & Ireland said.
KFC said staff on short-term contacts working in restaurants owned by the chain would be paid the average hours worked per day over the past 12 weeks, while those on salaries would be paid as normal.
However, 80% of KFC outlets are run on a franchise basis.
“Franchisees will be seeking their own independent advice, but we’re encouraging them to adopt this policy too,” said the chain.
The closures were the result of delayed chicken deliveries by DHL, which announced in November that it had been appointed alongside QSL to manage the supply and distribution of food products and packaging for more than 850 KFC restaurants throughout the UK.
“Due to operational issues a number of deliveries in recent days have been incomplete or delayed,” DHL said in a statement.
“We are working with KFC and our partners to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
KFC was previously a client of Bidvest Logistics.
The chicken chain detailed the problems in an earlier statement, which said: “We’ve brought a new delivery partner on board, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems – getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex!”
“We won’t compromise on quality, so no deliveries has meant some of our restaurants are closed and others are operating a limited menu, or shortened hours,” the company added.
“We know that this might have inconvenienced some of you over the last few days, and disappointed you when you wanted your fried chicken fix – we’re really sorry about that.”