The entire restaurant industry continues to face massive supply chain issues. Taco Bell, Starbucks, KFC, and McDonald's have been some of the most recent fast-food chains to warn customers about limited menu items or shortages.
KFC announced last month some menu items weren't available for UK customers. Now the fried chicken chain has told Bloomberg that it cannot promote its breaded chicken tenders on US television because there's a persisting chicken shortage.
"On chicken tenders, we have enough to supply demand, but we would love to have more to be able to aggressively promote it on TV," KFC US President Kevin Hochman told Bloomberg's Leslie Patton.
"In terms of advertising and promotion, we're going to focus on things we have abundant quantities of," he said, noting that bone-in chicken is more plentiful now," Hochman.
The poultry industry has been in tight supply all year due to labor shortages of workers at slaughterhouses, making it difficult for KFC and other fast-food chains to stock enough chicken.
While supply issues persist, the growing demand for chicken may force KFC to lose market share as customers seek chicken nuggets and sandwiches elsewhere.
During COVID, the most popular meat in the US was broiler chicken, at roughly 96 pounds per capita in 2020. Demand for on-the-go chicken snacks at KFC has been on the rise as well. The first news of a chicken shortage to impact the fast-food chain was in April.
However, there is some good news: Hochman notes the poultry supply chain for Yum! Brands Inc.-owned KFC is beginning to normalize.
Untangling complex supply chains appears to be a challenging task that may persist well into 2022. At one point, the KFC shortage in the UK got so severe that people started calling police about unavailable menu items.