PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian authorities have called for a written explanation from QSR Brands (M) Holdings - the company that operates Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) - on the price increase of the fast-food chain's dishes.
Popular eateries must be sensitive to consumer sentiment when increasing their prices, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister said outlets such as KFC and McDonald's must understand that the ministry is obliged to look after the welfare of consumers.
"Last Friday, I invited the management of QSR Brands, the operator of KFC and Pizza Hut, for a meeting.
"I presented to them the feedback of the consumers, while at the same time I listened to their explanations on why they increased their prices.
The meeting came after recent price hikes of KFC's popular dishes such as the 'Snack Plate', which was previously priced at RM12.30 is now RM15.30, and the 'Dinner Plate', which was RM15.60 is now RM19.60, became hotly debated on social media.
Some Malaysian netizens even took it to social media to show their displeasure.
Hahahaha I was once a hard core KFC fan but now because the price and small size chicken I have stop eating kfc. #conjob— Stephen Pang (@FlyingAceKombi) January 9, 2019
During the meeting, Saifuddin also added that he was also scheduled to meet with the operators of McDonald's on the issue of price hikes.
Explaining more on Friday's meeting, Saifuddin said QSR Brands had explained that the price increase of their products was due to rising costs.
"They (QSR Brands) are holders of franchise licences. They explained that they are bound by franchise conditions. For example, they are only allowed to use ingredients provided by selected suppliers.
"So let's say the price of cheese from their supplier has increased, they cannot switch to a different source for cheese, as it would go against the franchise agreement," said Saifuddin.
Despite that, he said the ministry could not dictate the prices at eateries like KFC.
"We ask that they give us an official written explanation. But I cannot just call them and force them to lower their prices. That is not the role of the government," said Saifuddin.