KFC was forced to close two-thirds of its 900 UK outlets over the weekend due to a shortage of chicken as deliveries from DHL failed to arrive on schedule, according to Huffington Post.

Other stores were forced to offer a limited menu or reduce their opening hours.

After eight years working with BidWest, KFC signed a contract with DHL and QSL to manage the supply and distribution of food products and packaging to its stores in November. However, the new service was only launched last week.

An insider told trade magazine the Grocer that the reason behind the supply shortage was because the launch occurred in half term.

Outlets all across the UK were affected. A full list is available on KFC’s website.

It is not yet known when operations will be back to normal.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

What was said:

KFC said in a statement:

“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.”

A spokesman for KFC added:

“We want to thank our incredible restaurant teams, who are working flat out all hours to get us back up and running again.”

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.”

What does this mean:

The fast-food market is highly competitive and lucrative. KFC’s global revenue was $23.5bn in 2017 and gross income was $7.37bn. McDonalds’ global revenue for 2017 was $27.57bn and gross profit was $10.82bn. Global sales for 2017 were $17bn for Subway.

Many customers took to Twitter to complain about the shortages.

It is possible that customers will seek to choose other fast-food chains over KFC because of this incident. Thus this mass closure across the UK could damage KFC financially.


Shortage issues are not uncommon in the food service industry.

A recent example in the UK was Wetherspoons and Nando’s having to throw away thousands of steaks after they were recalled by supplier Fairfax Meadow.

KFC has experienced previous issues with supply in China and South Africa.

In 2014, Shanghai authorities ordered the suspension of operations at Shanghai Husi Food Co on the basis they sold KFC and other fast-food chains out of data meat.

During the 2017 bird flu outbreak, KFC could not stock Zinger and Dunker wings in their South African stores as they sourced their meat locally.