Fried chicken has long been a beloved staple of the American South, in every its crunchy, greasy glory. Pair that with a fairly easy to love Colonel and a memorable catchphrase and you have the makings of 1 of the most easily recognized brands on earth: Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The chain, which now has locations in more than 105 countries across the globe, got its humble begin in the front of a gas station in Corbin, KY. First opened by Harland Sanders, a gas station operator, in 1930, the initial restaurant was more of a hobby than a multimillion-dollar business idea. It wasn’t until 1940 that Sanders developed precisely what are now KFC’s greatest assets-his top secret Original Chicken recipe-and perfected his frying technique, because of the advent of the pressure cooker.
It took another 12 years to the open the first (of what would soon be many) KFC franchises, kickstarting the growth of a worldwide brand and eventually making the Colonel an international celebrity. Although the man with the kick-ass hair on your face passed on in 1982, his face still lives on buckets of chicken and wrappers of Double Down sandwiches round the world.
KFC was first known as Sanders Court & Café.
KFC wasn’t always called Kentucky Fried Chicken. While it did originate in Kentucky, Harland Sanders first sold his fried chicken out of the front of the gas station he operated, and he named the restaurant Sanders Court & Cafe. The original location, which is found in Corbin, KY, is still there today and functions as a normal KFC, but with a museum specializing in Sanders attached. To get more information about Kentucky Fried Chicken Menu Prices
KFC didn’t always sell buckets of chicken.
The iconic paper buckets associated with KFC today were nonexistent until 1957, or practically 27 years following the original restaurant opened. Until then, you could only buy single bits of chicken. The bucket meal was actually created by one of the first KFC franchisees and it included 14 bits of chicken, five bread rolls, and a pint of gravy.
Harland Sanders was never a real colonel.
Harland Sanders did serve in army as a mule-tender, but he was never a colonel. As the popularity of the chicken found the Governor of Kentucky, Ruby Laffoon, made him an honorary Colonel in 1935 for his contributions to the state’s cuisine, in line with the official website focused on a history of KFC.
Getting your hands on Colonel Sander’s personal effects requires deep pockets.
The trademark white suit worn by Colonel Sanders was purchased at auction by the president of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan for a cool $21,510, or around 2,500 ten-piece buckets. Following the success of this sale, the fast-food chain made available bidding on more of Sanders’s personal items (for charity) in October of 2013, including his Boy Scouts of America plaque, which started at a paltry $100.
Even Nicholas Cage in National Treasure could have a hard time finding out the original recipe.
The secret recipe is, in fact, a real secret, and it’s kept locked in a safe at the Louisville headquarters along with vials of the eleven herbs and spices that it utilizes. While it’s reasonable to assume that the addictive chicken must be laced with crack, many have speculated that the blend carries a blend of flour, Tellicherry black pepper, salt, MSG, and sage-though none of this has have you ever been proven.
The Double Down premiered on April Fool’s Day, but it was no joke.
The Double Down, KFC’s notorious mashup sandwich featuring two fried chicken breasts wrapped around cheese and bacon, was introduced with a press release on April Fool’s day, but it turned out to be a smash hit. While it could be the best representation of America’s preference for fatty junk food, it was actually quite popular in other countries as well. It sold out by 2pm on its release day at a KFC in British Columbia. In addition, it sold quickly in parts of French Canada where it was known as a “Coup Double,” across Australia where it was simply known as “The Double,” and in Japan where it was sold under the moniker of “Chicken Fillet Double.” Recipes across Malaysia, Singapore, and South Africa were modified to meet Halal standards, with turkey bacon or sliced smoked chicken swapped for the strips of bacon.
Sanders didn’t invent the name KFC.
While Harland Sanders might have been the face of the company and the creator of it’s signature chicken recipe, the name Kentucky Fried Chicken wasn’t his idea. It had been instead coined by a painter hired by one of Sanders’s first franchisees. That same franchisee was the man behind the creation of the bucket meal and even the infamous “finger lickin’ good slogan” that was dropped in 2011 in favor of “So Excellent.”
KFC Is insanely popular outside of the U.S. American fast-food companies have long made the leap across international waters with incredible results. As the most prolific of those companies may be McDonald’s, KFC is also in the mix with locations in over 105 companies. It even beat out the Golden Arches to be the first fast-food chain in China, as well as the first American fast-food chain in England, Australia, and New Zealand. Works out most of the planet loves fried chicken.