MALAYSIA – US fast-food chain KFC has announced temporary closed over 100 restaurants in Malaysia over challenging economic conditions. 

The decision comes amidst a pro-Palestine boycott that has swept through the country, prompted by the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict. 

QSR Brands, the operator of KFC and Pizza Hut outlets across Malaysia, said the decision was directly influenced by the month-long boycott targeting Western brands. 

In response to the situation, QSR Brands emphasized its focus on managing escalating business costs and redirecting attention towards high-engagement trade zones. 

The impact of the closures is particularly felt in states like Kelantan, where 21 outlets are affected, and Johor, with 15 affected outlets, according to reports. 

To mitigate the impact on employees, the company has offered opportunities for relocation to ‘busier’ outlets, aligning with its strategic resource optimization efforts. 

Approximately 108 outlets out of the 600 in Malaysia are temporarily shuttered, as per reports from the local Chinese daily. 

Despite facing unexpected challenges, QSR Brands is demonstrating resilience, a characteristic often associated with transnational and global brands. 

The company remains committed to its Malay customer base and its significant Muslim-majority workforce of 18,000 employees. 

Early this month, KFC was forced to shut its first branch in Algeria just two days after its opening, following protests over U.S. support to Israel. 

The closure followed vehement protests over perceived U.S. support for Israel, casting a shadow over the brand’s much-anticipated entry into the Algerian market. 

Protests erupted outside KFC’s debut store in Algiers, as demonstrators voiced their grievances and called for a boycott of the renowned fast-food chain. 

What initially promised to be a momentous occasion, marked by KFC’s partnership with the esteemed lifestyle retail company Azadea Group, swiftly turned into a tumultuous ordeal marred by allegations of ties to Israel. 

Despite KFC’s announced plans to expand its footprint across Algeria in the coming years, the harsh reality manifested in the abrupt closure of its inaugural outlet, dealing a blow to its ambitious regional expansion goals. 

The unexpected turn of events has left both KFC and Azadea Group grappling with the repercussions of the sudden backlash. 

Samir Menon, Managing Director for KFC MENAPAKT, and India had expressed enthusiasm for introducing the brand’s signature flavors to Algeria, only to be met with unforeseen obstacles. 

The closure of KFC’s first Algerian store not only undermines the brand’s expansion strategy but also dashes hopes for the creation of over 100 employment opportunities slated for 2023. 

With plans to escalate job creation to 500 positions in the near future, this setback poses significant challenges for the local economy and workforce. 

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