KFC’s Chicken Shortage: A Blessing In Disguise?

It’s unlikely to have escaped your notice that the fast food chain, KFC, has run into trouble with their UK distribution. 646 of their 900 UK restaurants were closed, as of Tuesday morning.

What’s happened?

Last week, KFC changed their delivery contract from Bidvest to DHL, which appears to be the route of the problem. DHL has blamed “operational issues” for the disruption.

The unprecedented closures have caused KFC a PR nightmare, with media outlets across the country watching them intently. DHL has also taken a hit, as the company responsible for the shortage (although I imagine Bidvest’s marketing team are quietly smiling to themselves).

What’s the fallout?

It’s hard to say without any official statement from KFC, which is unlikely to come, but despite the logistical trouble their PR team appear to be in top shape. They’ve come out ahead of the story being fully transparent with restaurant closures and the cause. In an attempt to mitigate the damage they’ve even set up a dedicated web page so their loyal customers can find out which restaurants are still open.

As it is, there’s not a lot more they can do. At current estimates, all of their restaurants should be up and running by the end of the week. So long as they stay vigilant and keep providing updates on the situation, they should be back to business as usual in no time.

Can they turn this disaster around?

With such a long closure and all the negative publicity they’ve received, you’d expect for them to suffer a dip in trade in the coming weeks. Play their cards right, however, and this could turn into their biggest marketing success of the year.

If they put together a special ‘grand reopening’ offer, it’ll gain unprecedented attention. Everyone who’s watched this story developed, even if they’re not a regular, will take notice. People want what they can’t have, and the scarcity we’re seeing will pique the interest of a lot of onlookers.

It’s very short notice, and KFC will have to use every available media to reach as many people as possible. Still, it could be worth the cost. Success could mean not only making up for the week of lost trade but a whole new wave of loyal, repeat customers who have never had KFC before or simply haven’t been to one in a few years.

What do you think of KFC’s handling of the situation? Do you think they’ll have a chance to turn it around? Or is it too much to expect them to turn this failure into a success?

The Following Advert is How KFC Responded

Following this weeks rather unfortunate chicken fiasco, KFC have responded with a rather unconventional full page add in the Sun and Metro. This brilliant PR move has been picked by major news outlets like the BBC. This is a great move in making the story work for them, hopefully they can keep it going until they’ve got chicken back on the menu.

KFC Response Advert