The GMB trade union tried to warn KFC it would have “egg all over its face” by moving from Bidvest Logistics to DHL and Quick Service Logistics, it has emerged.
Around two-thirds of KFC’s 900 outlets are believed to still be shut because of availability issues that followed the switch to DHL and QSL last week.
GMB national officer Mick Rix said: “We tried to warn KFC this decision would have consequences - well now the chickens are coming home to roost.
“Bidvest are specialists - a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them”.
KFC has now set up a page on its website, kfc.co.uk/crossed-the-road so its “fans” can check where their nearest open restaurant is.
A KFC spokesman said: “Our teams are working flat-out all hours to get the rest back up and running as soon as possible - but it’s too early to say how long it will take to clear the backlog.”
The GMB said the decision to switch the delivery contract to DHL was to save money and was “bird-brained”.
The new contract led to 255 redundancies at Bidvest Logistics and the closure of one of its depots.
Bidvest had a network of distribution centres across the UK, but DHL was trying to do the job with just one, said Rix.
“It’s an absolute cock-up. KFC are left with hundreds of restaurants closed while DHL try and run the whole operation out of one distribution centre - where conditions are an utter shambles.
“Three weeks ago KFC knew they had made a terrible mistake, but by then it was too late.”
KFC’s “bird-brained” decision had caused untold misery to customers, to Bidvest workers and restaurant staff who were not being paid, Rix added.
“Now they’ve been left with egg on their face,” he said.
A spokeswoman for DHL said the distributor could give no further update at this stage.
Asked to confirm speculation that KFC was contemplating reverting back to Bidvest, she refused to comment.
A source familiar with the situation said: “I think Bidvest was doing a great job. KFC were sold the bells and whistles but they haven’t got the main part of the contract right. Food is not the same as delivering parcels.”
The Grocer understands the switch from Bidvest was not just about price but added extras that DHL and QSL promised, such as environmental benefits, better delivery scheduling, faster turnaround of orders and greater integrity of food during transportation.
No one at Bidvest was available for comment.