KFC is one of the best-known fast-food brands in the world, with the colonel making appearances in over 115 countries worldwide, in over 18,000 outlets.
Truth be told, it’s no surprise the success KFC is having; how many people can honestly say they don’t love a good bucket meal or a pack of popcorn nuggets?
Not me, and even with the health-focused world we live in today, there will always be a place for fast food.
Here we’re going to look at 15 facts about the poultry prince and his empire.
Harland Sanders started selling his world-famous chicken on March 20, 1930, from a Route 25 petrol station near North Corbin, Kentucky, named “Sanders Court & Café.” The first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” franchise opened in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 24, 1952.
Sanders wasn’t a military colonel but actually a colonel of the state of Kentucky. He was given the title by then-Governor Ruby Lafoon alongside 5000 other people in 1937. Governor Lawrence Wetherby later re-commissioned the colonel, and this was also around the time when the famous goatee, white suit, and string tie were donned.
The first bucket meal, a very popular KFC option, was sold in 1957, which’s over 15 years after the start of Sander’s chicken empire. It wasn’t even sold by Sanders himself, but by his first franchisee Pete Harman, the Salt Lake-based franchise under the name Kentucky Fried Chicken sold a 14-piece chicken meal with five bread rolls and a pint of gravy.
American guitarist Buckethead, famed for his work with Guns ‘n’ Roses, wore a KFC bucket on his head during performances with an orange label with the word ‘funeral’ written across it.
KFC, after being the first western fast-food franchise to hit China in 1987, is now enormous across the country with 4563 outlets. Each Chinese store averages a 50-item menu with some well-known chicken dishes and some lesser-known local dishes like tree-fungi salad.
Colonel Harland Sanders died on December 16, 1980. Governor of Kentucky, John Brown Jr, honored the colonel by having every State building’s flag flown at half-mast for 4 days.
Pete Harman, a friend of Sanders and the previously mentioned first franchisee, was the first to use the phrase “Kentucky Fried Chicken” in his restaurant. The catchphrase wasn’t his idea, though; it was coined by the sign painter Harman had hired.
Sanders disliked the idea of deep-frying his chicken, he chose to pan-fry it, but this took too long to be viable. The pressure cooker changed this; even with the risk of explosion due to the poor design, Sanders adopted it as the sole method for cooking his chicken, saying it resembled the taste pan-frying gave.
Sanders sold his company for $2 million to investors in 1964, who guaranteed him a place on the board as a quality controller, a lifetime salary, and appearances in commercials.
The Japanese people love KFC. As Christmas is not a national holiday, KFC is a very popular western tradition for a Christmas meal, with a campaign of ‘Kentucky for Christmas!’ which included champagne. An estimated 3.6 million households had KFC during Christmas 2015.
The original recipe, according to KFC itself, was created in 1940.
In 1976 the colonel was ranked as the second most recognizable celebrity by a survey.
In 2006, in the Area-51 desert, KFC made an 87500 square foot logo that’s apparently visible from space following a new global re-image.
KFC has had some problems with its catchphrases. In 1991, after realizing the negative connotations of the word Fried, they started using the abbreviation KFC instead of “Kentucky Fried Chicken.”
“Finger Lickin’ Good” had a bit of a mishap when translated to Chinese for their first outlets in the country; the famous phrase became “eat your fingers off.”
Whether you like it or loathe it, you have to admit that KFC is a force to be reckoned with, and with 705 international restaurants opening in 2015 alone, the fried chicken takeover doesn’t show any signs of stopping.
From mind-blowing feats like sci-fi-style signs to poorly translated slogans, these incredible and almost unbelievable achievements show just how popular the brand truly is.
I hope you loved the facts, and there is plenty more out there, including some very serious questions that need to be addressed, like why isn’t popcorn chicken known as chicken colonels?!
Sanders was a very resilient man; even after opening during times of hardship, his original shop burning down, and at one point being dirt poor, the man kept building and building.
He wasn’t going to give up; that’s something we can all learn from the colonel, even if you can’t stand the food or the faceless corporation it’s become.
I don’t know about anyone else, but all this talk of chicken is making me clucking hungry.