KFC

KFC: A Zinger Of A Cock-Up

It was bothersome enough when the supermarkets ran out of hummus last year. But sole purpose of KFC is to sell chicken to the public. So, it’s amazing that a company of its size should run out of its only product. The result is the temporary closure of 646 UK shops last week. You might call it a cock-up but KFC fans weren’t happy. Some dialled 999 to report a crime against finger-lickin’ goodness. Others spoke to their MPs or consulted Citizens Advice.

KFC apologised by taking out jokey apology ads in British newspapers (see below). The company scrambled its initials to read “FCK” on it and on the whole this was well received.

But this light-hearted story has a serious zinger. The fast-food giant said it had been unable to get chicken to its shops because of problems at its new delivery partner DHL. This caused a chicken shortage in KFC’s largest market, the United Kingdom, where it sells 400 pieces of chicken a minute. And forced the company to temporarily close hundreds of restaurants around the country.

DHL won the contract by undercutting Bidvest, a specialist food distributor that had worked with KFC for years. Union leaders claim they warned KFC that DHL’s cut-price service wouldn’t deliver. And it seems that this disruption proves them right. The result:

255 job losses at Bidvest, the closure of a distribution warehouse and no chicken for anyone.

Now KFC is also feeling the effects of a dismal, race to the bottom corporate culture. This is due, in my opinion, to cost-cutting. Its whole business model is about selling cheap meat. This could mean using chickens being reared with minimal concern for their welfare. Since the beginning of the 21st century, fast food has been criticized for its animal welfare record, its links to obesity and its environmental impact. Eric Schlosser‘s book Fast Food Nation (below) and Morgan Spurlock‘s film Super Size Me (below) reflected these concerns:

   

Since 2003, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has protested KFC’s choice of poultry suppliers worldwide. PETA has held thousands of demonstrations, sometimes in the home towns of KFC executives, and CEO David Novak was notably soaked in fake blood by a protester.

And that’s just the tip of an iceberg. KFC has countless imitators. For example, Dallas Fried Chicken, Tennessee Fried Chicken, Southern Fried Chicken, etc. All are trying to grab a slice of the $4bn-a-year fried-chicken market. And they do this by cutting prices even further. Some offer a meal deal, with a salt and fat-laden dishes a tempting fizzy drink, for under a £1. An affordable unhealthy for teenagers and the hard-pressed. But despite efforts by some councils to cap their numbers, these shops keep proliferating. It seems our taste for fried chicken and its unpalatable consequences is insatiable.

What do you think? Leave a comment below:

Photo by Thomas Hawk on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Originally posted 2018-03-03 12:22:37.

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