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KFC expands UK operation

FOOD FIX: KFC in Brixton, south London (PA: Nelson Pereira)

MARKETED AS the home of the Colonel’s secret recipe, fried-chicken chain KFC plans to open up in over 40 new locations across the UK and Ireland this year.

The fast-food giant, which first arrived in Britain when it opened a store in Preston in 1965, claims the 2013 expansion will create 1,600 new jobs.

The US-owned firm already operates nearly 900 restaurants across the country, and plans to spend £40m to upgrade 160 of them in order to manufacture a “more modern, welcoming environment for customers”.

£40m is also the amount it says it will cost to expand for its 2013 drive.

The company, which employs around 24,000 people, says it aims to operate a total of 1,200 eateries across both countries.

The fact that KFC is able to say it has been adding a minimum of 30 restaurants each year is illustrative of the successful business fast-food restaurant chains have enjoyed in the UK and Ireland, despite the economic downturn.

Rivals McDonalds and Domino’s have both reported recent increases in annual profits, with the latter saying its profit increased by 10 per cent, in spite of slowing the growth of its presence on the highsteet.

The KFC brand was established in the States in the 1950s by Colonel Harland Sanders, who opened his first restaurant in 1930 in Corbin, Kentucky.

News of the expansion is unlikely to sit well with health officials and anti-obesity campaigners.

In March, public health ministers said in a report that “In England, most people are overweight or obese.”

The study titled, Reducing obesity and improving diet, found that “61.3 per cent of adults and 30 per cent of children aged between two and 15” are clinically overweight or obese.

A single KFC ‘Big Daddy Burger’, featuring the marketing ploy, “Only for the hungry”, contains 655 calories.

The government report concluded: “Health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS more than £5 billion every year.”

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