KFC to reopen further 80 outlets in UK, bringing total to 100

The fast food chain KFC is ramping up plans to reopen its UK outlets despite the coronavirus lockdown, pledging on Wednesday to open a further 80 restaurants – for delivery only – which will take the total to 100 by early next week.

The UK’s largest fast food chicken chain has gradually re-opened 20 of its restaurants over the past couple of weeks in order to offer a pared-back menu.

The American-owned company said in a statement that it was taking the major step “responsibly and carefully, with stringent processes and hygiene measures put in place. All our restaurants will continue serving a limited menu to help the smaller kitchen teams maintain social distancing.”

KFC has more than 900 branches in the UK and employs around 24,000 members of staff. Deliveries can be made via Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

The chain is joining a growing band of fast-food companies seeking to ease back into business during lockdown, albeit not without controversy given strict social distancing requirements.

Burger King, which has already reopened six sites for delivery and takeaway, is opening eight more from Wednesday, including its first ever drive-through.

The UK’s restaurants and pubs are allowed to prepare food in their kitchens for collection or delivery in spite of the lockdown, and many have been providing free meals to NHS staff and other key workers.

This week Nando’s reopened six restaurants in London and Manchester for delivery orders.

KFC said opening the restaurants would mean that it could continue donating food to the NHS and key workers – typically 10,000 meals a week in partnership with Deliveroo alone – in addition to the 13,000 it has already donated.

What are the UK government’s ‘five tests’ for ending lockdown restrictions?

The UK government has said that these five tests have to be met before they will consider easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions:

  • The NHS has sufficient capacity to provide critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK
  • A sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths from Coronavirus
  • Reliable data to show that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board
  • Operational challenges including testing and personal protective equipement (PPE) are in hand with supply able to meet future demand
  • Confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS

Paula MacKenzie, managing director of KFC UK & Ireland, said: “I’m really proud of the way we, with our franchise partners, have been able to carefully get some of our restaurants up and running over the last two weeks.

“This next stage allows us to continue to provide wider access to hot food for those who need it most, whether that’s key workers after a long shift or those working from home who need a quick, affordable dinner for the family. I’m hugely appreciative of our team members who have returned to work – it’s a challenging time for everyone, but we’re so glad to play our part in helping to feed the nation.”

McDonald’s announced on Tuesday it was carrying out operational tests behind closed doors this week in preparation for a limited reopening of some restaurants.

Paul Pomroy, the chief executive of McDonald’s UK and Ireland, said reopening would happen only “when we are absolutely confident we can have the right measures in place to ensure everyone’s wellbeing”.

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