KFC has quite a renowned reputation for their delicious fried chicken, and has received a lot of acknowledgement for their unique recipe. However, there is so much that you don’t know about the fast food chain that even Colonel Sanders won’t tell you! As always, we are here to give you the real scoop on everything there is to know about KFC. We can tell you now that this is all true, but when you see these facts, you still might not believe them!
Number Sixteen: The Secret KFC Formula
If you have ever thought about trying to get your hands on Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe, good luck doing that, buddy. KFC’s famous 11-ingredient herb and spice blend is locked away in a vault located in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipe is protected at all times by guards, so it is basically impossible to get your hands on. In addition to the recipe, the vault also holds an odd collection of containers holding each of the 11 ingredients. Salt and pepper account for two of those, but the remainders are common household mysteries.
Number Fifteen: Translation is Hard
Here in America, we know the KFC slogan to be the popular “Finger-Lickin’ Good”. Although if you only speak Chinese, you may know the slogan as “Eat Your Fingers Off”. Due to a translation error of the slogan used from 1956 to 2011, it is pretty obvious that a large portion of the Chinese population was a bit fearful of the chain.
Number Fourteen: More on the Slogan
Another odd fact about the slogan “Finger-Lickin’ Good” is how it originally came to be. It was first coined by the manager of a franchise in Salt Lake City. As a customer approached manager Ken Harbough to complain about another customer disgustingly licking their fingers in the store, he simply replied “Well, it’s finger-lickin’ good!”
Number Thirteen: The Recipe Remains
Unlike many of the chains who have altered the recipes of their food to accommodate the modern day, KFC continues to use the same, original recipe it produced in 1940. Including the batter! The only aspect of the winning recipe that has undergone changes is the oil used for frying. The company decided to switch to cheaper fats, such as palm oil, in the 1980’s. As of the 2000’s, they have been using trans-fat-free soybean oil.
Number Twelve: The Pressure Fryer
Contrary to popular belief, KFC doesn’t simply deep-fry their delicious chicken- they pressure-fry it into crispy masterpieces. When pressure cookers were debuted in 1939, founder Harland Sanders modified the creation into a pressure fryer. This allowed the restaurant to produce the same quality chicken that Sanders took so much pride in, in about half the time.
Number Eleven: It All Started at Home
Most patrons of this wildly successful chain remain unaware that the business started in the kitchen of Colonel Sanders himself, as early as the year 1930. Sanders bought a Shell gas station in Kentucky, and figured he could make even more profit by selling home-cooked meals as well. In addition to his famous chicken, he also sold steaks, country-style ham, and macaroni and cheese.
Number Ten: The First Restaurant
While his first sales took place in his own personal kitchen, four years of food service success urged him to purchase the gas station across from his own and fit it with six tables for his customers. He served so much food after this installment that the station was transformed into a 132-seat restaurant. He also purchased the motel down the road, and deemed the entire destination to be “Sanders Court & Café”.
Number Nine: The Name Game
The restaurant chain was known simply as “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, rather than “KFC”. The title “KFC” was simply an endearing nickname for its longer, original title. In 1991, the name was shortened to just KFC, but not for the ease of pronunciation. With the word “fried” in the store name, the company believe that people would be deterred because of the word’s health connotations.
Number Eight: No Military Status
With a name like “The Colonel”, most people seem to just assume that it is a title gained from military status. However, to think so would be incorrect. Sanders was actually given the title of a Colonel of the State of Kentucky, along with 5,000 other bearers of the name. Although, it did make quite the iconic character to serve you friend chicken. It was an advertising hit.
Number Seven: The Buckethead
KFC’s food is loved by many across the globe, including Guns N’ Roses’ former guitarist. Known as “Buckethead”, he has gained a reputation for performing accompanied by a KFC chicken bucket as a hat. Although, he did add a personal touch: a bright orange banner that reads “FUNERAL”.
Number Six: The Other Stars
Although it is commonly ignored, the founding company of KFC also owns two other stars in the fast food industry: Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. That is why so many of these restaurants can be seen sharing a building with one another. Formerly Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc., the company now bears the name of YUM!, as of 2002.
Number Five: The First Bucket
The KFC bucket of chicken has become one of the most well-recognized commercial icons. Remarkably, it wasn’t always so. The chain first took off in 1942, but the first “bucket meal” wasn’t even sold until 1957- 15 years after the fact. The concept originated at a store in South Salt Lake, and gained so much popularity that it became a store-wide hit.
Number Four: The First Franchise
KFC, bearing the implications of the word “Kentucky” in its name, has always been associated with the state of Kentucky. Although this is the location in which Sanders’ business originated, its first franchise premiered in Utah. Owned by Pete Harman, the franchise opened its doors in 1952. This location was the first to bear the name “Kentucky Fried Chicken”.
Number Three: Entering China
China wasn’t always so cultured in regards to cuisine as it is today. In the modern day, many Western food service chains line the streets of China, but KFC was the first to open the doors to the concept. Not only that, the chain flourished from it! KFC has reached record popularity in China, and owns about 4,563 stores there alone. They even create custom menus to appeal to all kinds of diners.
Number Two: The Statistics
We all know that KFC has become a world-renowned and ultimately successful fast food chain, but allow us to put that into perspective with some numbers. Only beat by the infamous McDonald’s, KFC is the second most successful restaurant of its kind. There are 18,875 total stores spread out across 118 countries. A whopping 4,491 of those stores are found in America.
Number One: The Half-Masted Day
Harland Sanders, or “The Colonel”, passed away December 16th, 1980, leaving his legend behind. On this fateful day, the state of Kentucky paid homage to its legendary icon by flying all flags in the state at half-mast. This continued for about four days of remembrance.