On Feb. 19, hungry U.K. residents who were craving a taste of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) found themselves at a KFC they likely never thought possible: One that had run out of chicken. Yup — following a chicken shortage apparently caused by delivery problems, as many as 800 of KFC's 900 U.K. locations were closed, CNN reported. Most stores are now back open and resupplied with the good stuff, CNN added, but the outcry from U.K. customers over the past week prompted KFC to apologize by running full-page ads in British newspapers Feb. 23. And though some folks are expressing frustration over the lack of chicken, Twitter's response to KFC's ad proves the internet, at least, still loves the Colonel.
KFC's apology ad, which digital marketer Robbie Abed writing for Inc. calls "spectacular," features an iconic red-and-white KFC bucket. But instead of being printed with "KFC," as per uzhe, the bucket reads, "FCK."
In smaller print, the apology continues, "A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It's not ideal. Huge apologies to our customers, especially those who traveled out of their way to find we were closed." The brand also thanked its team members for working to get the chicken flowing again, and added, "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."
Some folks on Twitter are loving the apology ad.
It's been crowned "epic."
It's winning awards straight from some people's hearts.
And it's proving to be genius advertising.
All it all, it seems like KFC's apology has been accepted.
As to how this could possibly happen, KFC shared some insight on its U.K. and Ireland-specific Twitter account. "We changed our delivery partner last week — Valentine's Day actually," the brand said in a tweeted graphic. "But Cupid's arrow wasn't firing for us, and we've run into some complicated distribution problems. To put it simply, we've got the chicken, we've got the restaurants, but we've just had issues getting them together."
In the same tweet, the brand also assured customers that any chicken caught up in depots would be checked for quality before being served, and that it was considering donating fresh-at-the-time chicken that may not have been fresh by the time the delivery sitch was figured out. One last graphic addressed some folks' concerns about whether or not staff were being paid, saying that salaried employees would be paid as normal, while employees paid per hour "will be paid based on the average hours they've worked over the last 12 weeks."
"As it stands," the brand continued, "none of our team members will be worse off financially this week. We need our people now more than ever. Not all heroes wear capes."
Having a restaurant that can't deliver on its core product is, as KFC put it, not ideal. "McDonalds [sic] might have an ice cream machine that doesn't work, but that is no comparison to KFC running out of chicken," Abed writes. But the apology is a serious silver lining for the brand, because "they addressed the obvious right away. That shows that they understand the irony of the situation and they are as embarrassed as you can imagine them to be."
It also helps that the ad is genuinely funny, Abed says, and seems to target the British sense of humor. And in the ad, KFC accepts the blame rather than shifting customers' ire onto its supplier. "They took ownership of the disaster," Abed explained. To other companies, he advises following in KFC's footsteps: "The next time you mess up, own it."
Overall, "I don't think they'll lose their loyal KFC fans anytime soon and with this full page ad, they might have gained a few more," Abed says.
Judging by the enthusiasm on Twitter, it seems like that may indeed be the case.