DHL Supply chain has apologised for interruptions to its KFC operation and said it is "working diligently to rectify the situation", but insisted it was not solely responsible for the debacle.

The statement from the operator's MD retail John Boulter came as KFC began to reopen stores but warned delivery issues would continue through the week.

The restaurant chain has been forced to close two thirds of its 900 UK stores in recent days following delivery issues after DHL took over its supply chain last Tuesday.

Boulter said: “DHL regrets the interruption of supply and is working diligently to rectify the situation by working with KFC and other partners involved in the supply chain.

"The reasons for this unforeseen interruption of this complex service are being worked on with a goal to return to normal service levels as soon as possible.

"Whilst we are not the only party responsible for the supply chain to KFC, we do apologise for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to KFC and their customers by this incident.”

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DHL Supply Chain's KFC operation, which it runs with QSL, went live last Tuesday after it won the contract off Bidvest Logistics last October.

GMB lashed out at the restaurant chain during the recent days of delays, accusing the business of "penny-pinching" to its own detriment.

National officer Mick Rix said: "We tried to warn KFC this decision would have consequences – well now the chickens are coming home to roost.

“Bidvest are specialists – a food distribution firm with years of experience. DHL are scratching around for any work they can get, and undercut them."

The union claimed KFC's switch to DHL had triggured the closure of a Bidvest DC and 255 redundancies.

KFC said its restaurants are beginning to reopen and will continue to do so over the coming days.

A spokesman said: "We anticipate the number of closures will reduce today [Tuesday] and over the coming days as our teams work flat out all hours to clear the backlog.

"Each day more deliveries are being made, however, we expect the disruption to some restaurants to continue over the remainder of the week, meaning some will be closed and others operating with a reduced menu or shortened hours."