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An Interesting Look at the History of Kentucky Fried Chicken

The History of Kentucky Fried Chicken

Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is now known as KFC, is a fast food restaurant chain. KFC is known as PFK, or Poulet Frit Kentucky, in Quebec. KFC sells fried chicken and other tasty fast food fare. So, what is the history of Kentucky Fried Chicken and where was the first Kentucky Fried Chicken? Here is a fascinating look at the history of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Who Was Colonel Sanders?

Colonel Harland Sanders, who was born and raised in Henryville, Indiana, first served his fried chicken recipe in 1930 at a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. He named the dining area “Sanders Court and Café” and he had phenomenal success with it. In 1936, the governor of Kentucky named Sanders the Kentucky Colonel in recognition of his wonderful fried chicken.

The year after, Sanders expanded his restaurant to a hundred and forty two seats and added a motel. He first prepared his chicken in an iron skillet and it took half an hour to cook, which is too long for most patrons to wait. Sanders modified his recipe and used a pressure fryer, which was quicker than deep-frying. Colonel Sanders devised what came to be known as his original recipe in 1940.

Sanders sold this restaurant and traveled around the United States, selling his recipe to other restaurant owners. He entered franchise agreements by getting the restaurant owners to pay him five cents per piece of chicken they sold. Pete Harmon from South Salt Lake in Utah was the first to take the Colonel up on this offer and they opened the first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet together in 1952.
An Interesting Look at the History of Kentucky Fried Chicken

The Rapid Growth of Kentucky Fried Chicken

By the early 1960s, Kentucky Fried Chicken was sold in more than six hundred franchised outlets in the United States and Canada. Colonel Sanders now has one of the most recognizable faces in the world.

Colonel Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken for $2 million in 1964 but stayed a public spokesman for the company. Kentucky Fried Chicken went public in 1966 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1969. By 1979, there were about six thousand KFC restaurants all over the world. Colonel Sanders died in 1980 from leukemia.

Kentucky Fried Chicken became a subsidiary of R J Reynolds Industries Inc in 1982 and was bought by PepsiCo Inc in 1986. PepsiCo united KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell under the Tricon Global Restaurants umbrella in 1997. Tricon changed its name to YUM! Brands Inc in 2002.

Kentucky Fried Chicken Today

The company abbreviated its name to KFC in 1991 to lose the unhealthy sounding word “fried.” However, KFC has been using its original Kentucky Fried Chicken name again since 2007 as part of a re-branding program.

Some of the older KFC restaurants have become notable in their own right today. One of these is in Marietta, Georgia and is famous because of the fifty-six foot tall chicken-shaped sign outside. The sign is often used as a travel reference point by pilots and locals in Atlanta.

What About the Secret KFC Recipe?

The original handwritten Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe with vials containing samples of each of the eleven spices and herbs is kept locked away at the KFC headquarters in Louisville. Only two executives have the key and the company uses different suppliers for their ingredients, so they can keep the delicious KFC recipe a secret.

Famous Alumni of Kentucky Fried Chicken

Include Wendy’s Hamburger founder Dave Thomas who took and turned around a failing KFC restaurant where he worked with founder Harland Sanders to simplify the menu to a core group of items. Shortly after this, he left to form the Wendy’s Hamburger chain with its first restaurant in Columbus, Ohio in 1969.

Photo Credit: © Stbernardstudio | – Giant Bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken
Picture, recipes and/or content upgraded: 04-04-16

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