Big shake up for fast-food restaurants including KFC and Nando’s: report

 ·15 Jan 2023

Some of South Africa’s favourite fast-food chains are struggling with stock and being forced to close as load shedding hampers their operations.

In December last year, KFC announced that load shedding had impacted the supply of some essential menu items. The company is not alone in its struggle, with Nando’s also falling victim.

Mike Cathie, the CEO of Nando’s South Africa, told the Sunday Times that the intensifying blackouts are leading to a supply crunch on chicken – threatening the company’s fresh food supply.

He said that while none of its restaurants have closed due to chicken shortages, it continues to be tough to manage supply across its national footprint with seemingly nonstop load-shedding.

“As long as load-shedding remains, so do the significant threat to the fresh food supply. We can expect to have a continued tough year ahead, but we are confident we have adequate plans and contingencies in place,” said the CEO to the Sunday Times.

Astral Foods, the country’s largest poultry producer that supplies restaurants such as KFC, Nando’s and Spur, said that power cuts make it increasingly difficult to do business.

The company’s latest ESG Summary Report for the year ended 30 September 2022 reported a direct loss of R126 million due to the power cuts.

According to the City Press, multiple farming industry representatives have approached the government to push back against load shedding as it limits food security across the country.

On 13 January, stakeholders from the agricultural sector held a meeting with Thoko Didiza, the agriculture minister. The members said that irrigation systems, livestock maintenance, and temperature regulation in chicken coops are all hindered by consistent load shedding.

The CEO of Agri SA, Christo van der Rheede, told the City Press that the future of the country’s food security remains unclear: “We stood as a sector and made the minister aware of the seriousness of the electricity problem. For example, the chicken farmers expressed fear that they wouldn’t be able to slaughter enough, which would lead to shortages.”

Eskom, the failing national power utility, has recently pushed load shedding to stage 6 with more frequent and longer periods of rolling blackouts.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed regret for the current energy crisis in South Africa, which has led to stage 6 load shedding, according to Presidential Spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.

The spokesperson said that Ramaphosa acknowledges the progress made in implementing elements of National Energy Plan, but calls for more urgency and speed in executing all priority areas outlined in the plan.

Shown below is the tweet released by KFC South Africa in late December:

Read: We’re doing something about load shedding, I promise: Ramaphosa

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