KFC’s flip-flop on suppliers

It’s been a nightmare few weeks for the popular chicken fast food restaurant KFC.

After switching suppliers for their chicken, from Bidvest to DHL, there were complications at one of the warehouses they use to store their chicken.

Mass queues of lorries, full of chicken, formed at the warehouse, which is located near Rugby.

The issue was that there were staff shortages at the warehouse, and the staff that were there had not been fully trained. The result of the queues was tonnes of chicken spoiled, making it unsuitable for sale in KFC stores.

After hundreds of KFC outlets were forced to close due to shortages in chicken, many of the company’s workers were asked to take their holiday, and customers were left with either no, or a very limited, menu. The company has now decided to switch some of their logistics supply back to Bidvest, their original supplier.

Bidvest will now supply 350 of KFC’s 900 restaurants. Bidvest has promised KFC a ‘seamless return’ to the supply, which would take a lot of pressure off the Rugby warehouse.

Similar issues with suppliers have caused issues in the past for other UK businesses. One of the most recent examples of this is when Wetherspoons, the UK pub chain, had to pull all of their steaks off of the menu following a so-called ‘supplier failure’. The failure was the supplier’s failure to meet several food hygiene standards.

The chaos surrounding drastic changes in suppliers has caused concern for some, who worry that Brexit, and the complications for firms that come with it, may cause a great deal of damage to the UK economy. Certainly, if there are similar closures as UK businesses adapt to changes, there may be serious damage to the economy.

It’s not clear yet what the damage has been to KFC’s revenue, but it can’t be good news for the company’s bottom line. To see the real impact, we will have to wait for them to announce their annual performance.


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Matthew Denton

July 2021
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