The South African fast food market is growing exponentially and has shown a rapid increase of international brands, local brands and consumer interest over the last few years. Fast food in South Africa is predicted to have an annual growth of 9% from 2014 to 2019 and the number of takeaway stores is said to increase by 4% every year. (Information extracted from Mail and Guardian’s article- SA’s ferocious fast food appetite.)Being a leading fast food franchise is not an easy practice and it’s not possible to have full control over what goes on behind closed doors in a restaurant. Many fast food franchises unfortunately try to cut corners and committing unethical crimes. I will elaborate more on this in the summary to follow.
In the article, KFC washing Chicken on the floor. We are aware that KFC Braamfontein were caught washing their chicken on the floor with a hosepipe. The chicken was apparently discarded chickens that were not to be sold to the customers. In the article, it is stated that the chickens were being washed on a dirty floor with blood squirting out of them. the KFC branch acted quickly as they have closed that branch until further notice. In this article there are pictures provided which show the KFC staff washing their chicken on the ground. This is irresponsible, and these acts should not be carried out by one of the best fast food franchises around the globe. In this article including a shocking incident of workers at the KFC in Umhlanga sharpening their knives on the pavements in the streets of KZN. A video broke out on Friday, the 22 May. This post was then abruptly removed from any media source. It has been told to reporters that residents of the community around this KFC branch wake up every morning to the sound of knives being sharpened on pavements. The video was released on Facebook. This was unfortunately not the first unethical incidence that has been linked with KFC after the incident in Braamfontein which Is my first article.
In the video released on Facebook, the picture isn’t very clear but the sound of knives scraping on the floor pierces your ears. Fortunately, KFC has reacted to this matter and has stated that, ‘We will not tolerate this behavior and have taken immediate and strict disciplinary actions to address this.’ (Stated by Smart on this) It is made known in this article that KFC inspectors visit all branches 4 times a year to make sure everything is running smoothly. They will be doing strict branch checks, especially after the Braamfontein branch washed their chicken on the floor, as well as the KZN branch sharpening their knives on pavements. Shockingly, in 2017, 11 staff members of the KFC in Umhlanga were caught stealing stock from the branch. This included 265 pieces of chicken, 63Kg’s of chips, 424 cans of cooldrink and 518 cans of juice. Although KFC may seem to be terrible, a KFC customer spoke very highly of a Veggie Burger that they received from KFC Malvern.
On Monday, May 11, Smart investigate the Braamfontein branch and found out that the chicken being washed on the floor was discarded chicken. In the next article, inside a KFC Kitchen, it states how a well-run KFC branch should be like. Food24 visited the KFC branch in Cape Town where they answered a few questions. KFC uses Rainbow farms as their supplier of chickens nationwide. These local chicken farms ensure that their chickens are hormone and steroid free as per the regulations for all South African Chickens produced locally. KFC put immense pressure on quality and therefore ensure that they are doing everything they can to ensure customers are receiving food of the highest quality possible. The KFC cooks go through training to ensure that they can maintain the special recipe of the KFC chicken and uphold the quality reputation of the KFC products. One thing they do to ensure high quality products is to use clean oil that is of a good quality. They do some tests on the oil before use to make sure that it is of a certain quality. They keep their products fresh with a waiting time of maximum 10 minutes after being fried to ensure that KFC are delivering fresh food. They also keep their kitchen and hands clean by sanitizing their hands every half an hour to keep germs and dirt as far out of the kitchen as possible. KFC also give back to the community with their Add Hope initiative. This initiative helps to feed around 40 000 children a month. This creates a very positive business image for KFC.
Two of the three articles summarized display unethical practices which has the ability to ruin a business’ reputation. The third article, states why KFC has got such a good reputation with the South African public. Unfortunately, we cannot just deem these situations as unethical, there is a lot more to consider when stating that the business is unethical. One has to take into account, the consumers, legislation and morals and principles before making such bold statements.
My Article: Unethical practices in a Fast Food Franchise compared to ethical practices in South Africa.
KFC’s Unethical Practices: Unethical practices according to Google, are merely defined as, an action that falls outside of what is considered morally right or proper for a person, profession or an industry. The three articles highlight two unethical issues performed by KFC and one article includes why KFC is one of the leading Fast Food franchises nationwide. Unethical Business practices unfortunately affect the business negatively, as this shows off a negative business image and therefore will push consumers away from buying products from the franchise. If a business acts unethically, the business loses its competitive advantage and therefore suffers a loss in sales and even possible in investors.
KFC has been caught with a couple of unethical business actions which would recently include the washing of the chicken on the floor in Braamfontein and the sharpening of knives on the KZN pavements. Even though KFC is one of the leading fast food franchises in South Africa and is globally renown they still show certain unethical businesses practices which include how they handle their food, employees and equipment.
Business Image: Unfortunately, due to a few negative business practices, the whole franchise suffers as a whole. This is the risk you take when you decide to open up a franchise. Unfortunately, if one branch/restaurant practices negative business practices it affects the whole franchise and hampers their whole business image. The business image is how the business is viewed by the public. It is the job of the PR team to ensure that this business image is as positive as it could be, and it does its best to attract customers to come to the KFC branch. A business image takes quite some time to finally be labelled a successful business image. There are a lot of things that make the business image successful, like CSR, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and their business practices. Unfortunately, a few unethical decisions of one restaurant can affect the whole business image negatively. This unfortunately affects all the other branches negatively as their business image has been compromised. In the two negative articles the business image has been negatively affected and thus puts KFC in a vulnerable position.
KFC good ethical Practices: We are able to see in the third article, how KFC created their good reputation thus far. We are exposed to how they operate and sell their products each and every day. This article shows us how KFC produces high quality products which are safe to the public. This article shows us only positive aspects of the operation of each KFC store. Sometimes this is bias as the KFC will act ethical and make sure that everything is done correctly to show a good image to the media, but because of their past experiences and unethical practices, it does raise a few eye brows.
How unethical practices impacts the South African Culture: Unfortunately, the controversial issues of washing the chicken on the floor and the sharpening of knives on pavements does not bode well for KFC. This shows that KFC has a lack of concern for the well-being of the South African market. By washing their chicken on the floor, it shows that they do not care about the cleanliness or hygiene of their products. This makes the public think that KFC is feeding them dirty food products that might have unwanted diseases or dirt on them. South Africa is an extremely diverse country and many religions require food to be slaughtered and prepared in a certain way. This includes the cleanliness and equipment used to prepare the food. Therefore, by KFC preparing their food with knives that were sharpened on pavements and how they washed their chicken on the floor, it is showing a massive disrespect to many religions and therefore offends the public of South Africa and demotes the idea of diversity is good.
Cleanliness and Hygiene: Cleanliness and hygiene plays a massive role in the success of a business in South Africa. It is ethical to keep your restaurants clean and to keep your equipment up to a certain standard. it is ethical to treat your equipment and stock with care always taking the cleanliness of these two aspects into account. Unfortunately, KFC has been very unethical by washing their stock on a dirty floor. This shows a lack of respect for the products being given to the customer. This unfortunately also shows that they do not care about upholding a good business reputation. Fortunately, KFC did take action and state that this unethical incident was unacceptable as they have certain waste minimizing projects in place and have a certain cleanliness and hygiene standard to uphold. The sharpening the knives on the pavements shows the exact same lack of respect as stated in the above paragraph. Unfortunately, the KFC employees have performed these unethical practices which affects the whole KFC reputation as a whole. This makes KFC look bad to the public and to their customers which affects their business image and their reputation. Fortunately, KFC does exhibit some forms of extremely good hygiene and cleanliness stated in article 3. This article shows how the KFC stores are run and how they protect the consumers health and their reputation by ensuring every single aspect of their daily operations are safe and healthy to all the parties involved.KFC is a great example of certain good and bad ethics. This image showcases a pristine and very well-run KFC kitchen. Showing good ethical practices.
Analyses of the Articles: In the first two articles I collected, it stated two negative unethical business practices performed by KFC South Africa. The first article showed KFC staff washing their chicken in the floor while the second article showed KFC employees sharpening their knives on the pavement. In the third article it contradicts the previous two articles as it exposes how well run the KFC kitchen is and how clean their working space is. These 3 articles show us how KFC is the perfect example of a good and bad ethics business. The bad ethics would be the first two articles while the positive business ethics would be in the last article. I believe that these three articles show case just how hard it is to run a very successful franchise. You cannot control every little thing that goes on within your business. It is impossible. In closing of the analyses, the first two articles show us how easy it is for a franchise to commit a certain unethical practice and how the franchise needs to take accountability for their mistakes and rectify them. the last article shows how the business should strive to be. The business needs to work hard to uphold these ethical values in order to keep the competitive advantage and keep their success rate at a reasonable level.
Legislation: Unfortunately, KFC has broken a few laws while performing these unethical acts. It is vitally important that the fast food franchises comply with all of the legislative information that they have to. In order for them to maintain a good company record, a good business image and a competitive advantage, they need to be able to prove that they have abided by all the laws that they had to which is very difficult. Washing the chickens on the floor falls under the Consumer Protection Act. This acts aim is to protect the rights of the consumers at all times and ensure a fair deal is being made. The one-man aim is to promote and advance the social and economic welfare of South Africa. By washing the chickens on the floor, KFC isn’t abiding by this act which will affect their reputation negatively as well as their business image. Not abiding to this act may even penalize them and they might be fined for not following such an important act.
Sharpening Knives on pavements also does not comply with the CPA. It ridicules the act and therefore shows the business isn’t abiding by the rules set out by this act. This could negatively affect their business image as well as the possible competitive advantage. If Fast food franchises do not comply with all the acts and legislation that they are required to follow, they will be negatively affected. They may have to pay a fine for breaching the laws, they may have to shut down temporarily or they may have to forfeit their competitive advantage because of the negative publicity they will be receiving.
In conclusion we are able to see how these three articles contradict each other in a way that forces us to analyze each article. We have established that KFC is a franchise with good and bad ethics and the consequences of these choices that they make. We know that negative unethical practices hurt the business and its success while ethical practices do not change the success of the business but rather influences it. KFC is a fast food franchise in a very volatile market.