Paula MacKenzie steps down as KFC UK & Ireland MD: Paula MacKenzie has stepped down as managing director of KFC UK & Ireland, after just over five years in the role. Propel understands her departure was unexpected and Mackenzie is set to pursue an opportunity outside parent company Yum! Brands, where she has been for more than nine years in total. It is thought her departure was announced internally yesterday (Tuesday, 8 March), and as yet no decision has been made on her replacement, although parent company Yum! Brands has a history of promoting from within. MacKenzie, who stepped up to the managing director role in 2017, after three years as chief financial officer, was heralded for leading a transformation of the KFC business and steering it through the supply chain issue that led to a chicken shortage and the company temporarily closing more than 700 of its then circa 900 UK restaurants. Last December, the company collected the Brand of the Year by Marketing Week, 12 months in which KFC was widely praised for its approach to the pandemic. Last month, KFC announced it had opened its 1,000th site in the UK and Ireland, and said it had plans to open a further 50 this year, and another 300 over the next five years. MacKenzie said at the time: “We’ve been on a transformation journey over the last five years to become a more connected and vibrant business. Reaching 1,000 restaurants is a testament to our growth and commitment to serving delicious fried chicken up and down the country. From Dundee to Newquay, we’re in more communities than ever before. We know the role restaurants like ours play in employment levels and up-skilling the next generation. We want to be good business and a good neighbour, and are committed to ensuring this remains the case as our growth continues with greater investment in our people and in our communities.” Last month, the Yum! Brands reported KFC’s system sales in the UK rose 12% for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2021, compared with the previous year. For the full year, system sales in the UK, which accounts for 7% of KFC’s global system sales, were up 38% on the year before.
KFC franchisee reports pre-tax profits surge past £10m as turnover jumps 46%: KFC UK franchisee Soul Foods has reported turnover increased 46% to £109.2m for the year ending 27 June 2021 compared with £74.8m the previous year as the business benefited from the demand for takeaway and delivery and covid-related incentives. Ebitda climbed to £18.5m from £4.4m the year before. The company saw a pre-tax profit of £10.6m compared with a loss of £3.2m the previous year. The group received government support totalling £3m, including £1.6m through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). In his report accompanying the accounts, founder and chairman, Aly Janmohamed, said: “During the year the covid-19 pandemic continued to have an impact on the trading of the group. However, due to covid incentives the group Ebitda continued to grow and had a positive impact on its cash resources. The group has been able to utilise the support offered by the UK government's CJRS, with some shop staff placed on furlough where this was necessary. In addition to this the temporary reduction in the rate of VAT along with rent deferrals and incentives have contributed to an increase in profitability and cash generated from operations for the period. Stores will continue to be refurbished in order to meet KFC guidelines, while new stores will be opened if the opportunity and funding is available.”