Brand and product history
KFC Corporation (KFC), founded and also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is a chain of fast food restaurants based in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States. KFC has been a brand and operating segment, termed a concept of Yum! Brands since 1997 when that company was spun off from PepsiCo as Tricon Global Restaurants Inc. KFC primarily sells chicken pieces, wraps, salads and sandwiches. While its primary focus is fried chicken, KFC also offers a line of grilled and roasted chicken products, side dishes and desserts. Outside North America, KFC offers beef based products such as hamburgers or kebabs, pork based products such as ribs and other regional fare. The company was founded as Kentucky Fried Chicken by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1952, though the idea of KFC's fried chicken actually goes back to 1930. The company adopted the abbreviated form of its name in 1991. Starting in April 2007, the company began using its original name, Kentucky Fried Chicken, for its signage, packaging and advertisements in the U.S. as part of a new corporate re-branding program; newer and remodeled restaurants will have the new logo and name while older stores will continue to use the 1980s signage. Additionally, Yum! Continues to use the abbreviated name freely in its advertising. The secret recipe
The Colonel's secret flavor recipe of 11 herbs and spices that creates the famous "finger lickin' good" chicken remains a trade secret. Portions of the secret spice mix are made at different locations in the United States, and the only complete, handwritten copy of the recipe is kept in a vault in corporate headquarters. On September 9, 2008, the one complete copy was temporarily moved to an undisclosed location under extremely tight security while KFC revamped the security at its headquarters. Before the move, KFC disclosed the following details about the recipe and its security arrangements: •
The recipe, which includes exact amounts of each component, is written in pencil on a single sheet of notebook paper and signed by Sanders. •
The recipe was locked in a filing cabinet with two separate combination locks. The cabinet also included vials of each of the 11 herbs and spices used. •
Only two executives had access to the recipe at any one time. KFC refuses to disclose the names and titles of either executive. •
One of the two executives said that no one had come close to guessing the contents of the secret recipe, and added that the actual recipe would include some surprises. On February 9, 2009, the secret recipe returned to KFC's Louisville headquarters in a more secure, computerized vault. In 1983, writer William Poundstone examined the recipe in his book Big Secrets. He reviewed Sanders' patent application, and advertised in college newspapers for present or former employees willing to share their knowledge. From the former he deduced that Sanders had diverged from other common fried-chicken recipes by varying the amount of oil used with the amount of chicken being cooked, and starting the cooking at a higher temperature (about 400 °F (200 °C)) for the first minute or so and then lowering it to 250 °F (120 °C) for the remainder of the cooking time. Several of Poundstone's contacts also provided samples of the seasoning mix, and a food lab found that it consisted solely of sugar, flour, salt, black pepper and monosodium glutamate (MSG). He concluded that it was entirely possible that, in the years since Sanders sold the chain, later owners had begun skimping on the recipe to save costs. Following his buyout in 1964, Colonel Sanders himself expressed anger at such changes, saying: “
That friggin' ... outfit.... They prostituted every goddamn thing I had. I had the greatest gravy in the world and those sons of bitches-- they dragged it out and extended it and watered it down that I'm so goddamn mad!
” Ron Douglas, author of the book America's Most Wanted Recipes, also claims to have figured out KFC's secret...
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