The international fast food chain KFC says it has been forced to close its three restaurants in Fiji because of a dispute over ingredients.
The company says the Fiji Quarantine and Inspection Division will not let KFC bring in a special milk and egg mix or a specific type of salt.
KFC says this means it cannot cook fried chicken to the correct recipe, so its two stores in Suva and one in Nadi have had to close. The closures have led to the loss of 80 jobs.
Steve Johnson, the manager of Kazi Foods, which operates the KFC franchise in Fiji, has told Pacific Beat dealing with government agencies has been a long and frustrating process.
“The last two or three years it was… a hassle trying to do business,” he said.
“Either the duties were increased from 20-something per cent to over 30 per cent and then they started holding our key ingredients in customs.”
The limitations on ingredients meant the fast food stores would not have been able to satisfy their customers, he said.
“If you can’t serve original recipe chicken, KFC corporate won’t allow you to stay open. It’s just not fair to your consumers – you’re serving a product that’s not meant to be.”
Fiji’s Attorney-General, in his capacity as the Minister for Commerce and Industries, has called a meeting of all stakeholders for Thursday in an effort to resolve the issue.
KFC has reiterated that government authorities should be helping investors and local businesses to enhance investment and job creation and says the company looks forward to resolving the issue amicably.