KFC was one of 12 retailers that signed a letter urging the government to find a solution to prevent a no-deal Brexit © Matt Cardy/Getty Images
KFC was one of 12 retailers that signed a letter urging the government to find a solution to prevent a no-deal Brexit © Matt Cardy/Getty Images

KFC warns of no-deal Brexit chips shortage

22 March 2019

The boss of KFC has warned of supply chain disruption in a no-deal Brexit, saying the retailer's supply chain is the “lifeblood of the business”.

Paula MacKenzie, managing director of KFC UK and Ireland, which suffered a catastrophic disruption to its chicken supply last year, said a no-deal Brexit would hit its chips supply.

“All of our chicken on the bone and nearly all of our wings come from the UK, but a lot of our chips for example, come from the continent,” she told the BBC.

“We do have to think about what is actually possible to stockpile in the UK. We like others on the high street will be OK for so long, but if there’s mass disruption for everyone then at some point it does run out.

“It is so true that supply chains are the lifeblood of the business and I think it takes something like the last year for us to have that front and centre.” 

Last year, KFC was hit by a chicken shortage after switching its delivery contract from Bidvest to DHL, resulting in the temporary closure of hundreds of branches.

MacKenzie said: “On a normal day if I had even five to 10 stores closed, that would be cause for concern so to be in a situation where up to 600 or 700 of our stores were closing, it totally redefined a bad day.”

The retailer was one of 12 signatories on a letter in January urging the government to find a solution to prevent a no-deal Brexit, warning of the disruption this would cause to supply chains.

The letter said while retailers are stockpiling where possible on frozen and chilled products, stockpiling fresh produce for more than a couple of weeks is “impossible”.

“Our supply chains are closely linked to Europe – nearly one third of the food we eat in the UK comes from the EU. This complex, just-in-time supply chain will be significantly disrupted in the event of no-deal,” it said.

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