KFC and other fast food restaurants in the southern African nation of Zimbabwe are unable to purchase supplies because of a shortage of U.S. dollars, forcing many to close.
Local news website Pindula reported Wednesday that the KFC restaurant in the southwestern city of Bulawayo posted a notice to customers saying that it was shut until further notice “due to the fact that we are unable to source stock from our suppliers as they require U.S. dollars.”
Local chains Chicken Inn and St. Elmo’s Pizza have suffered a similar fate.
The closures are the latest in a wave of difficulties caused by Zimbabwe’s foreign currency crisis, which has seen the price of basic commodities “spiralling out of control” according to the country’s Financial Gazette.
Some shops have already run out of essential items. According to one local news website, pharmacies have exhausted stocks of diabetes and blood pressure medications.
The head of a retail association says that there is “panic in the market” as frustrated consumers snap up whatever is available. However, government officials deny there is a shortage of commodities in the country and said the crisis was born of “profiteering” and “greed.”
Hyper-inflation forced Zimbabwe to jettison its own currency, the Zimbabwe dollar, in 2009 and switch to foreign cash instead.