Yellowknifers will have to wait a little longer to enjoy KFC drumsticks and Starbucks frappuccinos in the city, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Brian Long, director of development and construction with Toronto-based developer Soul Foods Group, says plans for a new fast-food plaza on Old Airport Road “have been negatively impacted by Covid-19.”
“We are still moving forward, although not on the schedule we would have hoped for,” he told Cabin Radio by email.
Long said there had been plans to open the franchises in late fall 2020. Now, he said it’s too soon to say when the restaurants will open their doors.
Soul Foods Group is working with the City of Yellowknife, contractors, and suppliers to assess the situation and figure out a path forward, Long said.
A number of construction projects are slated to go ahead in Yellowknife this summer.
In a rundown of those projects, the city’s engineering manager Wendy Alexander told councillors last week that the KFC and Starbucks project was “anticipated to be moving forward this summer.”
News that KFC, Taco Bell, and Starbucks could open in the city broke in June 2018. But plans to begin construction of the plaza – located at 251 Old Airport Road, across from Trevor’s Independent grocery store – didn’t come to fruition last summer.
In a February 2020 update to NNSL, Long said Taco Bell had been dropped from the project but there were plans to finish construction of a KFC and Starbucks by the end of the year.
The return of KFC is long-anticipated by some northerners. Yellowknife’s former KFC restaurant – which was the first fast-food franchise to open in the territory – closed its doors in 2015.
Researchers have even studied the cultural significance of KFC to the North.
Inside the old Yellowknife KFC days before its closure in 2015. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio