The chicken-franchise company KFC just had one of the worst weeks in its history.
No, seriously. KFC restaurants were forced to shut down in England because of supplier issues. The company had just switched suppliers and because of logistics issues, the supplier wasn't able to supply chicken.
It definitely angered customers who drove to their local restaurants only to find out that they were shut down because they had no chicken to cook and sell.
Some customers even called the police.
But there is a silver lining to this story.
As KFC was scrambling to get its supplier issue under control, its PR team went to work and did something spectacular that might just give the company a little breathing room with the public.
It put out a full-page ad:
A great play on letters from KFC.
It continues by saying the obvious:
"A chicken restaurant without chicken. It's not ideal."
This was a masterpiece in PR and I commend the company for coming out with a strong image and message. It could have easily spent its time blaming the supplier for the issues, but decided to take the high route and apologize to customers, team members, and partners.
Although the situation isn't 100 percent fixed, there are a few things you can learn from this response from KFC.
Address the problem head-on.
KFC for the past week was a chicken place that literally could not sell chicken. It doesn't get any worse than that. McDonald's might have an ice cream machine that doesn't work, but that is nothing compared with KFC's running out of chicken. It's any restaurant's worse nightmare.
The best part about this ad is that the company addressed the obvious right away. That shows it understands the irony of the situation and is as embarrassed as you can imagine it to be.
If you're going to be funny, it better be really funny and not offensive.
The moment I saw the "FCK" chicken basket, I thought immediately that it was a Photoshopped meme. But then I saw it on a full-page ad, and I knew this was a work of genius from KFC's PR team.
The British have a good sense of humor, so I think they would really appreciate the situation. Not having chicken available is a big issue, but it's not a life-threatening issue, and the company applied the right amount of humor to the situation.
I want to think that it's had this picture ready to go for a disaster. Either way, it was fantastic.
Say sorry and mean it.
The first words on the ad were "I'm sorry." It didn't say, "Our supplier messed up." KFC took ownership of the disaster.
The next time you mess up, own it. Don't blame it on others even if it is their issue.
Be grateful to those who were unnecessarily affected by it.
A part of the ad reads "And endless thanks to our KFC team members and our franchise partners for working tirelessly to fix the situation." The company knew that the KFC restaurants were not responsible for this disaster. There is nothing they can do if the chicken does not arrive at their restaurants.
This shows that KFC has goodwill for its team members who were affected by a bad supplier situation and is open to taking steps to fix the situation.
KFC still has a long way to go, but it seems like it is slowing getting back to normal. I don't think it'll lose its loyal fans anytime soon and with this full-page ad, the company might have gained a few more.
The next time you run into a disaster, address the issue head-on, apologize, be grateful, and be funny only if you can get away with it.