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30 Apr 2024

Zunaira Saieed & Hazlin Hassan, Strait Times

Malaysia: Over 100 KFC outlets close following ongoing boycott of companies reportedly linked to Israel amid ongoing bombardment of Gaza

KFC has reduced its operations in Malaysia, shuttering about 20 per cent of its restaurants temporarily after months of a persistent pro-Palestine boycott of US-linked businesses triggered by the ongoing war in Gaza.

QSR Brands, which owns and operates the KFC fast-food franchise in Malaysia, is suspending operations of 108 outlets nationwide...based on information from Google Maps.

The maps show which KFC stores have had their status updated to show “temporarily closed”.

A source at QSR, who declined to be named, said the firm sees the boycott as an opportunity to cease some of the KFC store operations that have weighed on its balance sheet.

QRS said in a statement on April 29 that “in response to challenging economic conditions”, it has taken proactive measures to temporarily close outlets in order to manage growing business costs and focus on the busier KFC stores.

“Employees from the affected stores were offered the opportunity to relocate to operating stores as part of a tactical strategy to optimise resources in trade zones with higher customer engagement,” the company said...

“KFC is not on the BDS list of targeted companies. But many Malaysians see any American fast-food operator to be related to Israel including KFC,” said Professor Mohd Nazari Ismail, chairman of pro-Palestinian group Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Malaysia.

Since the boycott began in October 2023, KFC has shifted its branding strategy, with signs on their menu boards and fliers emphasising that it is owned by Johor Corporation, which belongs to the Johor state government.

“To mitigate the impact of the boycott, QSR changed its branding strategy to become more Islamic on its website in the fourth quarter of last year,” said the source...