PR Disaster Recovery: How KFC Rebounded from a Big Fowl Out

PR Disaster Recovery: How KFC Rebounded from a Big Fowl Out

Why did the chicken cross the road? Apparently to avoid ending up at KFC… A few weeks ago the popular fried chicken chain KFC, ran out of chicken at over 900 locations in the U.K. due to operational issues with a new delivery provider. Shortly after customers realized what was going on, it took them no time to voice their concerns on social media, some utilizing the hashtag #KFCCrisis and going as far as contacting London and Manchester police departments.

However, there is an old adage in media: No PR is bad PR. So, knowing an apology was in order after the stunt, a week later KFC ran a full-page ad in the Sun and Metro, rearranging the letters of KFC, to FCK, emphasizing that “a chicken restaurant without any chicken” is “not ideal.” KFC also created a website showing which locations still had limited menus, ones that were closed or opened, and even went as far as providing rewards on their app to customers who frequent these locations when their location goes back to running normally.

The ad reads: 

"A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who travelled out of their way to find we were closed. And endless thanks to our KFC team members and our franchise partners for working tirelessly to improve the situation. It’s been a hell of a week, but we’re making progress, and every day more and more fresh chicken is being delivered to our restaurants. Thank you for bearing with us."

What can every marketer learn from this? Sometimes you have to say FCK it. Not actually though, but everyone knows that in business if something CAN go wrong, it WILL. Utilize situations like this to your advantage, take the loss, and learn from it. In KFC’s case, they were a chicken restaurant who ran out of chicken… in your case you may be a marketing agency on deadline and your WiFi goes down. Have back-up plans, and know that in this day and age of constant news cycles what may seem like the end of the world will be old news by dinner time. KFC will be more likely remembered for this brilliant advertisement than for running out of chicken. In the end though, sometimes you just have to wing it. (Pun intended).

KFC Apology Ad