DHL “operational issues” close KFC outlets

London, UK: KFC has closed more than half of its 900 UK outlets after chicken deliveries failed when it switched contractor.

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

It was unclear when the delivery problems would be rectified, a KFC spokesperson said. 80% of KFC outlets are run as franchises that are also affected by the supply problems.

Until last Tuesday, KFC’s chicken was delivered by Bidvest. But after the change in the contract, many of the food giant’s outlets began running out of chicken products. KFC said on Twitter: “We’ve brought a new delivery partner onboard, but they’ve had a couple of teething problems – getting fresh chicken out to 900 restaurants across the country is pretty complex!”

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 [Quick Service Logistics], to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience.”  The distribution network uses software developed by the Quick Service Logistics.

KFC overhauled its UK supply chain last November entering a three-way partnership with DHL and previous partner Quick Service Logistics which has supplied the fried chicken chain in Europe since 2011. Last November, DHL described the new contract as a “groundbreaking” move that would see DHL “re-write the rule book” and “set a new benchmark for delivering fresh products to KFC in a sustainable way”.

The GMB union said it warned 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. “Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them,” Rix said.