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Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the worse supplier

3 min read - by Zac Sturgess - Solutions Architect

So, for those of you that live outside of the UK, or don’t care for fried chicken fast-food outlets, KFC had to close more than half of its 900 UK outlets due to delivery problems.

Some stores had to close for more than a week, and it was estimated that KFC was losing up to £1 million a day.

I can’t talk about this story without first making a brief aside to congratulate the KFC team for their PR throughout the period, including the very cheeky anagram-based apology they published in newspapers and tongue-in-cheek tweets:


But I’ll be honest – I thought I’d missed my chance to tell this story. This was all more than a month ago at the time of publication – I thought it was a good idea that I’d lost to time.

There are two reasons to still talk about this. Firstly, I visited my local KFC the other night and they are still serving a limited menu due to delivery problems. Secondly, there’s the story behind the delivery problems.

This is a story all about how / people’s meal choices got twisted turned upside-down /
and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there /
and say about how fast-food failures are about picking suppliers with care

(OK, fine, I’ll stick to my day job as a techie then, songwriting isn’t for me)

KFC had ditched a long-running contract with catering logistics specialist Bidvest, closing a Bidvest depot and making 255 people redundant, according to a local newspaper near the depot. Mick Rix, National Officer for the GMB union, who represented the laid-off Bidvest workers, told the BBC that the contract was instead awarded to distribution generalists, DHL, who offered to undercut Bidvest by operating out of a single warehouse. The union also warned KFC that it could face a repeat of supply problems that had hit Burger King when it ditched Bidvest Logistics in favour of DHL six years ago.

It once again goes to show that there’s something to be said for the specialists, and for ensuring the supplier you choose can make the most of your budget, not just use the least of your budget.

Instead, KFC forged ahead and the rest, as they say, is history.

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