Warrnambool looks set to be without KFC for up to 10 weeks with the city's only store to undergo a $250,000 makeover early next year.
Plans to build a second store on the infamous "stonehenge" building site on Raglan Parade in west Warrnambool are in the pipeline but it is unlikely to open before late next year.
Franchisee David Bird said plans for the new store would be submitted to the city council within months but delays in materials and staff shortages in the building industry would likely impact the timing of the project.
The "stonehenge" site was purchased in March for about $2 million around the time the councillors knocked back a $1.8 million plan to create up to 60 jobs at a new store at the Mortlake Road Northpoint shopping complex.
The project was rejected in a 6-1 vote of councillors in April with traffic congestion a major concern.
If approved, it would have opened in December/ January in time for the February revamp of the city store.
But with renovations of the central store 12 months overdue, the $250,000 works will mean temporary closure and leave the city without the popular takeaway for between five and 10 weeks.
"We will be closed for a while, for about six weeks. There'll be no KFC in Warrnambool maybe even up to eight weeks or 10 weeks," Mr Bird said.
He said the closure was unfortunate but had to be done.
"We try to upgrade our stores every five years to keep them fresh and relevant to our consumers and customers. This one is about 12 months overdue because of COVID, so I need to do it," he said.
Plans for the revamp have been submitted to the council for approval which will determine exactly when works would start.
The upgrade also includes signage changes, painting, internal works to provide more storage space for staff and replacing tiles that had reached the end of their lifespan.
"We'll be giving the outside a bit of a lift," Mr Bird said.
Meanwhile, demolition work has begun on the "stonehenge" building with plans expected to be lodged with the council within months.
It was anticipated Warrnambool's second store could be open by December next year.
"I have no idea how long a second store will take up to build but we're moving forward," Mr Bird said.
"You simply can't get materials and also staff from the contractors all the way through. It snowballs."
Mr Bird said the shortages in the building industry had impacted the construction of their new Stawell store with a shortage of tilers and building materials putting the project already two months behind schedule.
He said they were recruiting for the store which was now set to open mid-November but finding staff for their eight stores was "really, really tough".
"Probably across the group we could employ another 110-120 but we can't get them," Mr Bird said.
But in Warrnambool, for the first time in 12 months the number of staff at the city store was looking promising.
"That gives us a nice little bit of hope that there's another 50 or 60 people that want to work when the second store opens some time next year," Mr Bird said.
He said it was trickier in some of the smaller communities like Hamilton, Portland, Horsham, Ararat to get staff. "That's hard going, but they're surviving," he said.
Work on a Naracoorte store is also still on the agenda for the group.
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