Brits’ love of fast food is far from slowing down and KFC is one chain cashing in on the trend. The fried chicken chain is planning to open 150 new stores in the UK and Ireland over the next five years, creating 6,000 new jobs.
This year alone, KFC will invest £21m in opening 32 new branches that will create 1,300 jobs and take its total workforce in the UK and Ireland to 25,300.
‘The reality is that we could absolutely keep growing at this rate for the next five years and longer because there’s demand for KFC in geographies where we are not yet present, so as long as we can make sure our offering is appealing to consumers I think the ceiling quite a long way away,’ said Martin Shuker, managing director KFC UK and Ireland.
The move comes as the UK continues to gorge on fast food. Once just a weekend treat, fast food and eating out now accounts for a third of Britain’s annual food budget. In total, the British spend £29.4bn a year on takeaways with Chinese, Indian and fried chicken amongst the most popular, according to a recent survey by VoucherCodes.co.uk.
Founded in Kentucky in the 1950s and known for its ‘Finger Lickin' Good’ slogan, KFC opened its first UK branch in Preston, Lancashire, in 1965. There are now 860 outlets across the UK selling 60,000 tonnes of chicken a year and annual customers have rise 32% to 143m over the last 10 years.
The chain is owned by Yum Brands, the fast-food giant which also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Last week Yum reported an 18% jump in first quarter profit to $399m (£237m), helped by a rebound in China where sales at KFC rose 11%.