The fast food franchise’s UK and Ireland managing director Paula MacKenzie believes it could face a logistics nightmare and run out of food again if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal
KFC had a horrible start to 2018. Due to its new logistical partner being unable to live up to its commitment, the fried chicken franchise ran out of chicken in February, forcing up to 750 of the 900 UK stores to close until the transportation kerfuffle could be sorted. Now the UK’s top KFC boss warns that history might repeat itself if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.
The comments came as Paula MacKenzie, UK and Ireland managing director at KFC, spoke to the BBC about last year’s crisis. “All of our chicken on the bone and nearly all of our wings comes from the UK but a lot of our chips, for example, comes from the continent, comes from Europe,” she said. “So we do have to think what is actually feasible to stockpile in the UK. We, like others on the high street, will be okay for so long but if there’s mass disruption for everyone then at some point it does run out.”
The comments come after MacKenzie was one out of 12 signatories in an open letter in January, warning about the risks of Brexit. She signed it with head honchos at Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, The Co-op, Waitrose, Costcutter Supermarkets, Pret A Manger, Lidl, the British Retail Consortium and McDonald’s.
In the letter, the signatories wrote: “On behalf of our businesses and the wider food industry we want to highlight to you the challenges for retailers and the consequences for millions of UK consumers of leaving the European Union without a deal at the end of March.”
They added: “While we have been working closely with our suppliers on contingency plans, it is not possible to mitigate all the risks to our supply chains and we fear significant disruption in the short term as a result if there is no Brexit deal.”
Given how costly last year’s chicken shortage was for KFC, it’s easy to see why MacKenzie would do everything to avoid an encore of the crisis.