KFC shorten for Kentucky Fried Chicken is an American fast food restaurant chain.
It is the world’s second-largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald’s, , with 23,000 locations globally in 150.
Headquartered in Kentucky, where the brand originated, the company receives about half its profits from international sales.
Before it became the world’s second-largest fast-food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken was the brainchild of a man named Harland Sanders, who cooked up simple country dishes at a roadside gas station. Even after his death in 1980, Sanders is still the instantly recognizable face of the company. His life story—and his road to fast-food fame—includes a lot more than just chicken.
Harland Sanders is born in Henryville, Indiana. He spends his early years making his way around the southern states, trying his hand working as a steamboat pilot, railroad fireman and farmer.
In 1930, Sanders took over a Shell filling station on US Route 25 just outside North Corbin, Kentucky, a small town on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. It was here that he first served to travelers the recipes that he had learned as a child: fried chicken and other dishes such as steaks and country ham. After four years of serving from his own dining room table, Sanders purchased the larger filling station on the other side of the road and expanded to six tables.
Finally in 1939, the Colonel perfects his unique blend off 11 herbs and spices that are still used today… and still top secret. Although he never publicly revealed the recipe, he said the ingredients included salt and pepper and that the rest “stand on everybody’s shelf”.
The colonel’s fried chicken first became a fast-food hit in an unlikely location—Salt Lake City, Utah. It was there in 1952 that Pete Harman, a Sanders friend who operated one of the city’s largest restaurants, became the colonel’s first franchisee. According to Ozersky, the Harman restaurant pioneered the famous bucket container and used the “Kentucky Fried Chicken” moniker. What most people associate with worldwide fast food today looked like a regional specialty on a menu in 1950s Utah.
Don Anderson, a sign painter hired by Harman, coined the name “Kentucky Fried Chicken”. For Harman, the addition of KFC was a way of differentiating his restaurant from competitors; a product from Kentucky was exotic and evoked imagery of Southern hospitality. Harman trademarked the phrase “It’s finger lickin’ good”, which eventually became the company slogan. He also introduced the “bucket meal” in 1957 (14 pieces of chicken, five bread rolls and a pint of gravy in a cardboard bucket). Serving their signature meal in a paper bucket was to become an iconic feature of the company.
Say “bucket of chicken” and you think KFC.The original KFC bucket from 1957 has now come to be recognized worlwide.
By 1963, there were 600 KFC restaurants, making the company the largest fast food operation in the United States. KFC popularized chicken in the fast food industry, diversifying the market by challenging the dominance of the hamburger.
In 1964, Sanders sold KFC to a group of investors led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey for US$2 million (around US$17 million in 2020). The contract included a lifetime salary for Sanders and the agreement that he would be the company’s quality controller and trademark
In 1976, the Colonel is named the 2nd most recognisable celebrity in the world after an independent survey.
Legend has it that Sanders put a hex on the Hanshin Tigers after the baseball team’s joyous fans celebrated a 1985 championship by tossing his statue, taken from a local Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, into an Osaka river. The team’s subsequent championship drought was blamed on the “Curse of the Colonel,” but even the 2009 recovery of the statue from the muddy river bottom has yet to result in another title for the team.
In 1986, after a rich and full life, Harland Sanders sadly passes away at the age of 90. His legacy lives on through his Original Recipe chicken and the company logo adapts over the years, with the Colonel’s face remaining at the forefront of the design.
KFC adapts its menu internationally to suit regional tastes and there are over 300 KFC menu items worldwide. Some locations, such as the UK and the US, sell grilled chicken. In predominantly Islamic countries, the chicken served is halal. In Asia, there is a preference for spicy foods, such as the Zinger chicken sandwich. In many international markets, the seasoning used for the core chicken pieces product is available as a hot and spicy version as an alternative to the classic KFC recipe. The hot and spicy coating, as well as having a spicier flavour, also has a crispy consistency.