Whether you call it KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken, it is a fact that KFC has become so popular that it is now the second largest fast food restaurant chain in the world after McDonald’s. Here are some facts about KFC you might not know:
1. Harland Sanders started selling fried chicken from his home.
KFC was started by Harland Sanders who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression. After serving from his own dining room table, Sanders expanded his roadside restaurant to six tables. While selling chickens from his roadside restaurant, he understood the concept of franchising and people’s love for fried chicken. In 1952, he opened the first franchise in Utah and it’s owner, Pete Harman, named it Kentucky Fried Chicken.
2. The original recipe of KFC is still a secret.
Sanders’ original recipe of ‘11 herbs and spices’ is one of the famous trade secrets that are still hidden. A copy of the recipe signed by Sanders is held safe inside a vault in KFC’s Louisville headquarters. It is said that Sanders never revealed his eleven special herbs and spices, but agreed to use a little pepper and salt in his preparation.
3. Sanders modified the pressure cooker to make his recipe better.
Sanders was unhappy with the thirty five minutes it took to prepare his chicken in an iron frying pan. He believed that oil would degrade the quality of the product, so he refused the idea to deep fry the chicken. Then in 1939, the first commercial pressure cookers were released in the market; they were designed to steam vegetables at home. Sanders purchased one for himself and modified it to a pressure fryer. In his opinion, the new method of pan fried chicken helped to maintain the quality as well as saved time.
4. The first signature meal of KFC was introduced in 1957.
Harman introduced the first signature meal of KFC in 1957. The meal was served in a paper bucket with fourteen pieces of chicken, five crispy bread rolls and some spicy gravy. After the signature meal was introduced, it proved to be an instant success for KFC.
5. Sanders sold off KFC in 1964.
By 1963, there were 600 KFC restaurants, making it the largest fast food operation in the US. KFC started challenging hamburgers and soon was able to capture the market. In 1964, Sanders sold KFC to John Y Brown Jr. and Jack C Massey, Pete Harman and company officials Lee Cummings and Harlan Adam for US$ 2 million. The contract included a lifetime salary for Sanders and ensured that he would be the sole member working as a quality controller and remain a trademark of the company.
6. KFC has switched to rapeseed oil after facing criticism globally.
KFC earlier used hydrogenated vegetable oil for frying but due to criticism faced across the world, they switched to palm oil. Widely used in cooking, palm oil has poor environmental as well as health records. Due to other such reasons, they switched to high oleic rapeseed oil with an assurance that customers would benefit due to reduced saturated fats.
7. KFC returned to their old slogan ‘Finger lickin’ good’.
KFC is known for its former and current slogan ‘Finger lickin’ good’, which was replaced by ‘Nobody does chicken like KFC’ and ‘So good’ in the interim. The original was ‘It’s finger lickin’ good’.
8. A family sued KFC and won $8 million.
Monika Samaan, a seven-year-old girl from Sydney, Australia, was left brain damaged after she ate salmonella-tainted KFC chicken twister seven years ago. She was so sick that she fell into a coma and was hospitalized for several months. The girl is now confined to a wheelchair. After the judge awarded the Samaan family $8 million for Monika’s lifelong care, KFC appealed the decision in 2012.
9. Yum! Brands – the current proprietor of KFC
In July 1986, R J Reynolds, a tobacco firm that had acquired KFC for $ 1.3 billion in 1983, sold KFC to PepsiCo for $850 million. In 1997, PepsiCo spun off its restaurants division as a public company valued at US$4.5 billion and the new company was named Tricon Global Restaurants. Later, Tricon was renamed Yum! Brands in May 2002.
10. KFC sued three companies for rumors that its chicken had six wings and eight legs.
KFC sued three Chinese companies for rumors about its genetically modified chicken with eight legs. These Chinese companies used social media accounts to spread false claims about the food. For this, KFC is demanding 1.5 million yuan (£158,000) and an apology from each of the companies that operate accounts on phone app WeChat.