In Depth

Police tell KFC customers to stop calling 999 about chicken shortage

US fast food executives fly in for crisis talks about delivery delays

Metropolitan Police in east London have told locals to stop wasting their time by calling the emergency line to complain about chicken shortages at KFC.

The outcry comes after the fast-food chain was forced to temporarily shut around 750 of its 900 UK outlets this week, owing to delivery problems. Tower Hamlets Police tweeted: “Please do not contact us about the #KFCCrisis - it is not a police matter if your favourite eatery is not serving the menu that you desire.”

Police could not confirm how many calls they had received as the cricken drought enters its fifth day. Frustrated customers have also been contacting their local MPs, reports the London Evening Standard.

Meanwhile, KFC executives from the US are flying in for “crisis talks” with UK bosses about the chain’s chicken shortage. The Daily Mirror says the company is losing a “six-figure sum daily” as a result of the distribution problems.

The “operational issues” have resulted in tonnes of chicken “going to waste amid complete chaos with new delivery partners DHL”, according to the newspaper. It is unclear how many of the 900 shops across the UK have reopened, although the Mirror estimates that about half are still shuttered.

The closures have prompted a number of complaints on Twitter.

A KFC spokesman said: “We anticipate the number of closures will reduce today and over the coming days as our teams work flat out all hours to clear the backlog.”

Mick Rix, the GMB union’s national officer, told The Guardian that the union warned KFC against ditching suppliers Bitdvest Logistics in favour of DHL, telling the chicken chain that Burger King had been plagued by supply problems when it did the same thing six years ago.

“I wrote to KFC. I alluded to Burger King trying to cut costs and ending up with poorer quality service and poorer distribution. They had shortages, too, but not on the scale we’re seeing now at KFC. Within six months they [Burger King] were pleading with Bidvest Logistics to take it back,” Rix says.

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