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Angel workers take center stage in KFC hiring plan

By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-01 06:53

Fast food chain launches program to bring in staff with hearing problems

Zheng Peihua joined fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken in Guangzhou in March after graduating in fashion design last year.

She collects food orders for customers after glancing up at an electronic board, and enjoys her work even though she has a hearing impairment problem.

"I have learnt a lot and made many friends," she said. "I have showed my family that I can be independent."

Zheng is one of the 15 full-time members of staff with hearing or mental health problems at the restaurant. But then, KFC has more than 10 outlets across China that employ people with disabilities.

Many are simply known as "angel restaurants". The display board for frying equipment, for example, is installed with a flashing light in addition to a beeper.

This helps an employee to know when the fried food is cooked.

In the service area, an electronic board is used by staff with hearing impairment problems to check customer orders.

The angel restaurant in Guangzhou was launched in May last year and the deco includes paintings by people with disabilities.

"There are 29 full-time staff and we may increase the number of angel employees," said Ding Zhe, general manager at KFC branch.

Angel workers received job offers through the Guangzhou Disabled Persons Federation, special schools, friends and related news reports.

After two weeks of training, they take up full-time positions.

"We slow down the tempo a bit and show more patience," said Ding. "But all our staff can do the job."

Parents of angel workers visit the restaurants on a fairly regular basis to find out how their children are getting on.

"They hope we do not spoil their children with special care, and that we treat them the same way as our other staff," said Ding.

At team building events, angel workers and parents are invited to activities such as barbecues and karaoke sessions.

"I was surprised to see the musing sign language but I got used to it after a while," said Kong, who works around the restaurant and gave only a family name.

"But I think it is good to help people with disabilities find a job. We should all be equal."

Gao, who is a frequent diner at the restaurant, was quick to praise KFC for showing "social responsibility".

"This makes the restaurant special," said Gao, who just gave a family name. "By doing this, it intends to tell customers that it is not just about profitability but also corporate responsibility."

Social workers from special schools also visit KFC employees to see how they are getting on.

Some angel workers also return to their old schools to share their work experiences.

On May 21, KFC restaurants in Guangzhou arranged a breakfast and art event for people with disabilities, white collar workers and volunteers to promote integration.

"I took orders through a writing board," said Shi Ruidu, who has a hearing impairment problem. "When clients knew we were angel workers, they treated us with friendliness. We returned the compliment with sincere smiles."

Shi has worked in various positions at the restaurant and is now a team leader responsible for staffing.

Huang Zehui contributed to this story. Contact the writer at

Angel workers take center stage in KFC hiring plan

Shi Ruidu, who has hearing impairment problems, serves food at a KFC restaurant in Guangzhou, Guangdong. Provided To China Daily

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