KFC is a fast food restaurant chain headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, United States, which specializes in fried chicken. An "American icon", it is the world's largest fried chicken chain and the second largest restaurant chain overall after McDonald's, with over 17,000 outlets in 105 countries and territories as of December 2011.
KFC was founded by Harland Sanders, who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression. Sanders was an early pioneer of the restaurant franchising concept, with the first "Kentucky Fried Chicken" franchise opening in Utah in the early 1950s. Its rapid expansion saw it grow too large for Sanders to manage, and he eventually sold the company to a group of investors. Despite this, his image was still used as branding (as "Colonel Sanders"; Sanders had been made a Kentucky colonel after the success of his initial restaurant), and he worked as a goodwill ambassador for the company until shortly before his death. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, KFC had mixed success at home as it went through a series of corporate owners who had little or no experience in the restaurant business, although it continued to expand in overseas markets. In the early 1970s, KFC was sold to the spirits firm Heublein, who were taken over by the R.J. Reynolds conglomerate, who sold the chain to PepsiCo. PepsiCo spun off its restaurants division (also including Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), as Tricon Global Restaurants, which later changed its name to Yum! Brands.
The chain primarily sells fried chicken pieces and variations such as chicken burgers(chicken sandwiches [US]) and wraps, as well as side dishes such as French fries and coleslaw, desserts and soft drinks, often supplied by PepsiCo. Its most famous product is pressure fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sanders' "Original Recipe" of 11 herbs and spices. The exact nature of these ingredients are unknown, and represent a notable trade secret. KFC is famous for the slogan "finger lickin' good", which has since been replaced by "So good", and "Nobody does chicken like KFC". KFC's two major single markets are in its home country and China, which together contain around half of its outlets.
KFC has been the target of an ongoing campaign by the animal rights organization PETA, although KFC executives have protested that the chain is unfairly singled out for criticism. The chain has also been accused by Greenpeace with contributing to the destruction of the world's rainforests with unsustainably sourced cardboard and paper packaging.
Born and raised in Henryville, Indiana, Harlan Sanders passed through several professions in his lifetime, with mixed success. Sanders first served his fried chicken in 1930 in the midst of the Great Depression at a gas station he owned in North Corbin, a small city on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains in south eastern Kentucky. The dining area was named Sanders Court & Café and was successful enough for Sanders to be given the honorary title of Kentucky Colonel in 1936 by the Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon. The following year Sanders expanded his restaurant to 142 seats, and added a motel he purchased across the street. When Sanders prepared his chicken in his original restaurant in North Corbin, he prepared the chicken in an iron frying pan, which took about 30 minutes to do, too long for a restaurant operation.
In 1939, Sanders altered the cooking process for his fried chicken to use apressure fryer, resulting in a greatly reduced cooking time comparable to that of deep frying. Not only did production speeds increase but the method produced flakier, moister chicken. Between 1939 and 1940 Sanders devised what came to be known as his Original Recipe of 11 herbs and spices.
Sanders' "Original Recipe" of 11 herbs and spices remains a trade secret, and is a benchmark by which KFC...