KFC crisis: Almost 300 branches still closed as chicken shortage continues

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/kfc-crisis-almost-300-branches-still-closed-as-chicken-shortage-continues-11260802">KFC crisis: Almost 300 branches still closed as chicken shortage continues</a>

More than 600 of KFC's nearly 900 outlets are now open following days of chicken shortages across the country due to a new delivery contract.

The fried chicken chain had reported more than 500 restaurant closures earlier this week but told Sky News that more outlets - a total of 628 - were open, leaving almost 300 still out of action.

Many of those open are currently operating with limited menus or have cut their opening hours.

A KFC spokesperson said on Tuesday: "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."

On Wednesday, the chain attempted to address concerns on Twitter (Frankfurt: A1W6XZ - news) and admitted "you couldn't make it up".

It cited "complicated distribution problems" but insisted it was "working flat out" to get all stores up and running.

Addressing the issue of the undelivered chicken, KFC said it would "never compromise of quality" and that its warehouse had four temperature controlled zones "like the crystal maze but filled with chicken".

However, it said some chicken would "inevitably" go to waste.

"Donating to local charities is one option, and we're looking at many others," it added.

As for paying its employees, it said while KFC-owned restaurants remained closed salaried employees would be "paid as normal" and those paid hourly would be "paid based on the average hours they've worked over the last 12 weeks" or are invited to take holiday.

The post said franchisees - which account for 80% of KFC outlets - had "taken time to get advice".

"Nine out of 10 of our team members will not be worse off this week. Not perfect, but we're ensuring we do everything possible for that remaining 10%," it added. "We need our people now more than ever. Not all heroes wear capes."

The closures sparked panic among bargain bucket buyers and fried chicken fans as police in east London said they received calls from frustrated customers.

Tower Hamlets officers tweeted the chicken shortage was "not a police matter" and warned people not to waste police time.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "Tweet was gentle reminder that nuisance calls are not welcome but detract from responses needed for serious calls to police."

Bermondsey MP Neil Coyle said concerned constituents had contacted him over the issue.

"I've been contacted by disappointed #KFC customers on Borough High Street," he tweeted on Tuesday.

YouTube sensation and fried chicken reviewer Chicken Connoisseur urged those seeking their fix of finger lickin' good chicken to "keep calm" on Twitter and purchase fried chicken from "local independent bossmen" instead.