Mystery surrounds the operation of the new branch of KFC at Chippenham, with finger-licking fans musing don’t count your chickens on whether it is open or not.

The fast food restaurant has been beset by confusion and complaints since it officially opened on December 9, nine months after it was originally scheduled to open in March – an opening which was then rescheduled for May, and then rescheduled again.

Four days after KFC did open, people seeking fried chicken began to complain on Facebook that it was closed. Facebook followers of The Real Shout Out Calne group were told: “Just a heads-up before you waste your time. KFC in Chippenham is closed because there’s too many cars, they've shut the kitchen.”

This then sparked a litany of complaints.

One local posted: wrote: “We waited nearly 3 hours from queuing to getting our food. You could not get out of the queue if you wanted as it's a one-way system. We were told to park up and go in it would be quicker. So we went in and ordered, the poor staff did not have a clue. Training seemed so poor and there were no trained staff from another store.”

Another added: “Went in yesterday - absolute chaos inside. Machines for ordering food not working, drive-through ordering not working and lots of staff just not knowing what to do.”

Others complained of confusion of not knowing whether the restaurant is open or closed, with many claiming it was closed; that the car park has been coned off and reports that it was experiencing “power issues”.

A team leader at KFC Chippenham then posted that it would be open “everyday from 11 till 8 until we have more staff.”

When a Gazette & Herald reporter then went to the Bath Road establishment a day later at 12 noon, the drive-through ordering was running smoothly but the doors to the restaurant were locked. When approached for an explanation the manager refused to comment.

On December 15, KFC’s press office issued a statement indicating that all was fine. It read: “What a week! It’s been a long time coming but KFC in Chippenham is now open and already a huge hit with local fried chicken fans.

“We’ve had a really busy start over the past few days so we’re sorry if everyone’s experience wasn’t quite up to the Colonel’s standards – that’s the last thing we want. We’ve already got 30 new team members going above and beyond behind the fryers and we’re on the lookout for another 40 to join them in the coming weeks. The restaurant’s opening times are currently 11am till 8pm.”

However, on December 20 the complaints on Facebook began again – with the Shout Out Calne group posting: “KFC Chippenham, does anyone know the rules? Tried to walk my young family in there yesterday just before 7pm and we got shouted at by a lady in there saying they were closed. The first time I tried to go in there were really long queues, second time we arrived and they were shut and last night we got told off. Thinking about going veggie!”

Another frustrated diner added: “KFC Chippenham is a joke. They have shut more times than they open. Tried to get in there few times around 6pm but been told they were shut because they had no stock! No stock on a Friday!”

And another posted: “I tried on Saturday around 7.15 and they said they were closed. When I asked the opening times, she said 11-8! I asked why they were closing early and apparently it was too busy.”

On Tuesday morning this newspaper put the latest batch of complaints to the KFC press office for comment and explanation and the PRs said they would look into the matter. Yesterday the press office said it was “still looking into this”. No other comment or clarification has yet been received.