Belfast Telegraph

New KFC in Northern Ireland creates 120 jobs

Plans afoot to spend £3m on home delivery services

By Margaret Canning

Fast-food chicken giant KFC in Northern Ireland has announced a £5m investment and 120 new jobs in an expansion including a new drive-thru restaurant for Glengormley.

The new venue, which is being opened by franchisee Herbert Group, replaces the existing Glengormley restaurant, which has been there for 36 years.

Herbert Group is the UK's biggest franchisee for KFC, with 160 restaurants in England, the Republic and Scotland. It has 33 restaurants here, with around 1,000 staff.

It's spending £2m on the new Glengormley venue at 263 Antrim Road. The new venue will have the latest touch-screen technology and an 80-seater customer area, and bring 20 new jobs to the area.

But a spokesman said it's also to spend another £3m on home delivery, so that it's able to provide home delivery in all restaurants from next year - a move that will create 100 new jobs as restaurants expand to meet demand.

The restaurant uses online delivery services Deliveroo and Just Eat for delivery to homes from some restaurants.

A spokesman said: "This is an exciting time for The Herbert Group as we move into 2019 with a further £10m being spent across England opening a new unit every eight weeks as part of our commercial strategy."

He said that as a result, Herbert Group would also expand its head office team in south Belfast.

The new Antrim Road restaurant in Glengormley, which is on a site formerly occupied by supermarket Lidl, is replacing the existing KFC on Antrim Road.  The old restaurant is to stay open until the new one is ready for trading next year.

The plans for the new KFC have been brought forward by Kirk Bryson Ltd, a company linked to Herbert Group. Plans have also been lodged for development at another part of the site, though work is yet to begin. There are plans for the construction of nine homes, along with another drive-through restaurant. 

Planning permission was granted by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council in May after both sets of plans were lodged by Kirk Bryson Ltd. Coogan & Co Architects is the company associated with the applications.

Herbert Group is the biggest KFC franchisee in Europe, with 160 restaurants. The KFC company is owned by Yum Brands, the $29bn US-listed food giant which also owns Pizza Hut. Last week, Yum said that KFC had delivered 3% growth in same-store sales in the third quarter, compared to the same period in 2017.

In recent years, the operation has reduced the number of company-owned stores, instead expanding franchise outlets. The business sold 186 restaurants in the UK, and has a total of 927 stores which are mainly run by 37 franchisees, some of which operate just one store.

In an interview with The Times on Saturday, its UK and Ireland managing director Paula MacKenzie said she wanted to make KFC “the best version of itself”.

She faced a crisis earlier this year when restaurants in Britain ran out of chicken, after the transfer of a distribution contract to DHL went wrong. Up to 700 restaurants closed, but Northern Ireland operations were unaffected.

Ms MacKenzie told The Times the crisis had been “a watershed moment for us to be bolder, more courageous and ambitious”. She added: “I am really pleased with how we have come back from it.”

Belfast Telegraph

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.