Current KFC logo since 2016
|Genre||Fast food restaurant|
|When it was created|
|People who started it||Harland Sanders|
|Money earned||US$23 billion (2013)|
KFC, also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is an American fast food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, it is the world's second-largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald's, with almost 20,000 locations globally in 123 countries and territories as of December 2015[update]. The chain is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, a restaurant company that also owns the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and WingStreet chains.
KFC was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression. Sanders identified the potential of the restaurant franchising concept, and the first "Kentucky Fried Chicken" franchise opened in Utah in 1952. KFC popularized chicken in the fast food industry, changing the market by challenging the established dominance of the hamburger. KFC was one of the first American fast food chains to expand internationally, opening outlets in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Jamaica by the mid-1960s.
By branding himself as "Colonel Sanders", Harland became a prominent figure of American cultural history, and his image remains widely used in KFC advertising. However, the company's rapid expansion overwhelmed the aging Sanders and he sold it to a group of investors led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey in 1964.
KFC's original product is pressure fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sanders' recipe of 11 herbs and spices. The constituents of the recipe represent a notable trade secret. Larger portions of fried chicken are served in a cardboard "bucket", which has become a well known feature of the chain since it was first introduced in 1957. Since the early 1990s, KFC has expanded its menu to offer other chicken products such as chicken fillet sandwiches and wraps, as well as salads and side dishes, such as French fries and coleslaw, desserts, and soft drinks, the latter often supplied by PepsiCo. KFC is known for its slogans "It's Finger Lickin' Good!", "Nobody does chicken like KFC" and "So good".
Harland Sanders was born in 1890 and raised on a farm outside Henryville, Indiana (near Louisville, Kentucky). When Sanders was five years old, his father died, forcing his mother to work at a canning plant. This left Sanders, as the eldest son, to care for his two younger siblings. After he reached seven years of age, his mother taught him how to cook. After leaving the family home at the age of 13, Sanders passed through several professions, with mixed success. In 1930, he 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. By 1936, this had proven successful enough for Sanders to be given the honorary title of Kentucky colonel by Governor Ruby Laffoon. In 1937 he expanded his restaurant to 142 seats, and added a motel he purchased across the street, naming it Sanders Court & Café.
Sanders was unhappy with the 35 minutes it took to prepare his chicken in an iron frying pan, but he refused to deep fry the chicken, which he believed lowered the quality of the product. In 1939, the first commercial pressure cookers were released onto the market, mostly designed for steaming vegetables. Sanders bought one, and modified it into a pressure fryer, which he then used to fry chicken. The new method reduced production time to be comparable with deep frying, while, in the opinion of Sanders, retaining the quality of pan-fried chicken.
In July 1940, Sanders finalised what came to be known as his "Original Recipe" of 11 herbs and spices. Although he never publicly revealed the recipe, he admitted to the use of salt and pepper, and claimed that the ingredients "stand on everybody's shelf". After being recommissioned as a Kentucky colonel in 1950 by Governor Lawrence Wetherby, Sanders began to dress the part, growing a goatee and wearing a black frock coat (later switched to a white suit), a string tie, and referring to himself as "Colonel".
The Sanders Court & Café generally served travelers, so when the route planned in 1955 for Interstate 75 bypassed Corbin, Sanders sold his properties and traveled the US to franchise his chicken recipe to restaurant owners. Independent restaurants would pay four (later five) cents on each chicken as a franchise fee, in exchange for Sanders' "secret blend of herbs and spices" and the right to feature his recipe on their menus and use his name and likeness for promotional purposes. By 1963 there were 600 KFC restaurants, making the company the largest fast food operation in the United States.
In 1964, Sanders sold the company to a group of investors led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey for US$2 million (around US$15 million in 2013). The contract included a lifetime salary for Sanders and the agreement that he would be the company's quality controller and trademark. The chain had reached 3,000 outlets in 48 different countries by 1970. In July 1971, Brown sold the company to the Connecticut-based Heublein, a packaged food and drinks corporation, for US$285 million.
In 1982, Heublein was acquired by R. J. Reynolds, the tobacco giant. In July 1986, Reynolds sold KFC to PepsiCo for $850 million. PepsiCo made the chain a part of its restaurants division alongside Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. The Chinese market was entered in November 1987, with an outlet in Beijing.
KFC is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, one of the largest restaurant companies in the world. KFC had sales of $23 billion in 2013. KFC has its headquarters at 1441 Gardiner Lane, Louisville, Kentucky, in a three-story colonial style building known as the "White House" due to its resemblance to the US president's home.
As chairman and CEO of Yum!, David C. Novak ultimately has foremost responsibility for KFC operations. Sam Su is chairman and CEO of Yum!'s Chinese operations, and Muktesh Pant is the CEO of KFC. Richard T. Carucci is president of Yum!, and Roger Eaton is the COO of Yum! and the president of KFC.
In 1991, the KFC name was officially adopted, although it was already widely known by that initialism. President of KFC US, admitted the change was an attempt to distance the chain from the unhealthy idea's of "fried". The early 1990s saw a number of successful major products launched throughout the chain, including spicy "Hot Wings" (launched in 1990), popcorn chicken (1992), and internationally, the "Zinger", a spicy chicken fillet burger (1993).
By December 2013, there were 18,875 KFC outlets in 118 countries and territories around the world. There are 4,563 outlets in China, 4,491 in the United States, and 9,821 across the rest of the world. Outlets are owned by franchisees or directly by the company.
Most restaurants are furnished with images of the company founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. As well as dine-in and take-out, many stand-alone KFC outlets offer a drive-through option. KFC offers a limited delivery service in a small number of markets. Worldwide, the daily average number of food orders at an outlet is 250, with most occurring within a two-hour peak-period.
Colonel Sanders was a key component of KFC advertising until his death in 1980. Despite his death, Sanders remains a key icon of the company as an "international symbol of hospitality". Early official slogans for the company included "North America's Hospitality Dish" (from 1956) and "We fix Sunday dinner seven nights a week". The "finger lickin' good" slogan was used from 1956, and went on to become one of the best-known slogans of the 20th century. The trademark expired in the US in 2006. The first KFC logo was introduced in 1952 and featured a "Kentucky Fried Chicken" typeface and a logo of the Colonel.
Advertising played a key role at KFC after it was sold by Sanders, and the company began to advertise on US television with a budget of US$4 million in 1966. In order to fund nationwide advertising campaigns, the Kentucky Fried Chicken Advertising Co-Op was established. By 1976 KFC was one of the largest advertisers in the US.
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