Still reeling from last year’s controversy over antibiotics and hormones found in its chicken products, Yum Brands, parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, has yet another problem on its hands — the spread of the “avian influenza A(H7N9)” virus in China has caused its same-store sales in China to drop by 20%, with net income decreasing by 26%.
Chinese consumers have become increasingly worried about the new strain of bird flu and are starting to shun the company’s 4,200 KFC locations. Some of those infected with the virus had reportedly been in contact with live poultry.
Nevertheless, the company remains upbeat, saying “The impact of Avian flu publicity has initially been dramatic at KFC but relatively short-lived. In the past, we reminded consumers that properly cooked chicken is perfectly safe to eat, and we continue to do so.”