KFC warns of missing food items due to supply chain disruptions

13 August 2021

KFC has become the latest business to warn of supply chain disruption to its UK operations, as pressure mounts over a national shortage of HGV drivers which is impacting multiple sectors

The fast food chain said customers across the country would be affected, adding: "We know it's not ideal but we're working hard to keep things running smoothly. Please be patient with our incredible teams – they're doing a brilliant job despite the disruption".

A KFC spokesperson told Supply Management: “As with so many other businesses across the country, recent disruption has meant some of our restaurants are facing a few shortages.”

They added the shortages meant “some of our restaurants may need to make temporary changes to their menu”.

KFC did not comment on which food items were being impacted or the exact cause of the shortages. 

The chain previously faced supply chain disruptions in 2018 which forced it to temporarily shut 750 stores following well-publicised "teething problems” with delivery contractor DHL.

KFC's announcement comes as food supplies across the country have been threatened by the "pingdemic" which has seen workers forced to self-isolate, and a national shortage of HGV drivers which has caused problems across numerous sectors.

The Road Haulage Association warns there is currently a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers, after 25,000 returned to the EU following Brexit and a further 25,000 HGV driver tests were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Business group Logistics UK has called for the government to review its decision not to grant temporary work visas to EU HGV drivers in a bid to tackle the crisis.

Alex Veitch, Logistics UK general manager of public policy, said: “Logistics has relied on EU drivers for many years, and their loss at the start of the year as a result of Brexit has hit the sector hard. 

“While new drivers are trained and qualify – which can take up to nine months – and DVSA works through its backlog of outstanding HGV driver tests, which we estimate could take until early 2022, it would be prudent for the government to enable temporary visas to be made available for European workers to return to supplement the domestic workforce," it said. 

The organisation argued similar action has already been taken for agricultural workers, and called on the government to apply the measures across the logistics sector.

“Without an interim solution while new drivers are recruited, trained and tested, the current problems experienced across the country with out-of-stock items will continue. There are simply not enough qualified personnel available to do the jobs we rely on every day – we urge the government to be pragmatic and rethink its refusal to allow temporary visas for the sake of the UK economy.”

In response to the shortages, electronics company Dixon Carphones has followed in the steps of Tesco and dairy giant Arla by offering new HGV drivers signing-on bonuses of £1,500 to attract drivers to the sector.

It is also offering staff who work elsewhere in the business a £1,000 bonus for refering a friend for a driver vacancy as well as £1,500 to those willing to retrain to drive lorries.

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