KFC’s like-for-like sales in the UK declined by 1.6% for the full year to 27 December 2020 on the back of strong trading in the second quarter.

Operating profit reduced year-on-year to £50.7m, compared to £107.9m in 2019, which in turn saw its operating profit margin reduce from 54.7% in 2019 to 24.4% last year.

Excluding one-off items, operating profit was £47.6m for the full year, down from £67.6m in 2019.

Its average number of employees also increased last year – by 4% – following strong trading post April 2020.

In a statement on Companies House, KFC GB Limited said that it had reduced the number of restaurants it runs at the direction of its parent company Yum! Brands, in order that the directors can fully focus on continuing to grow the brand in the interest of all stakeholders.

The business donated more than 4,000 meals to local charities last year as part of a food donation scheme, as well as supporting the NHS and key workers with meals during lockdown.

KFC said it was committed to decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions with a target to lower them by 46% by 2030.

Speaking last month at MCA’s Restaurant Conference, Paula MacKenzie, MD, KFC UK & Ireland, said that the business had grown its national reach by some 10 percentage points after dramatically scaling its delivery proposition.

“Now, over three quarters of the UK population can get a KFC if they want one. That’s great. But it also shows you the headroom for growth,” she said.

MacKenzie also spoke of how the “muscle memory” of the chicken distribution crisis of 2018 helped KFC deal with the lockdowns of 2020.