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KFC: A worldwide leader in fast food


KFC, founded and also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is a chain of fast food restaurants based in Louisville, Kentucky. KFC was a wholly owned subsidiary of Tricon from 1997–2002, but changed hands to Yum! Brands in 2002. The chain also advertises itself as Poulet Frit Kentucky or PFK in the province of Quebec in Canada.

KFC primarily sells chicken in form of pieces, wraps, salads and sandwiches. While its primary focus is fried chicken, KFC also offers a line of roasted chicken products, sides 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, KFC, in 1991. Starting in April 2007, the company began using its original appellation of Kentucky Fried Chicken again for its signage, packaging and advertisements in the United States 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, the company continues to use the abbreviation KFC freely in its advertising. Internationally the company is still known as KFC.

Type Wholly owned subsidiary
Genre Southern fried chicken
Founded 1929 (original) (North Corbin, Kentucky)1952 (franchise) (South Salt Lake, Utah)
Founder(s) Harland Sanders
Headquarters Louisville, Kentucky
Key people Gregg R. Derrick PresidentHarvey R. Brownlea COOJames O’Reilly VP for Marketing
Industry Fast food
Products Fried Chicken and related Southern foods
Revenue $520.3 million USD (2007)
Employees 24,000 (2007)
Parent Yum! Brands
Website http://www.kfc.com/


The restaurant in North Corbin, Kentucky where Colonel Sanders developed Kentucky Fried Chicken

World’s first KFC in South Salt Lake, Utah, since replaced by a new KFC on the same site

Born and raised in Henryville, Indiana, Sanders passed through several professions in his lifetime. Sanders first served his fried chicken in 1930 in the midst of the Great Depression at a gas station he owned in North Corbin, Kentucky. The dining area was named “Sanders Court & Café” and was so successful that in 1936 Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon granted Sanders the title of honorary Kentucky Colonel in recognition of his contribution to the state’s cuisine. The following year Sanders expanded his restaurant to 142 seats, and added a motel he bought across the street. When Sanders prepared his chicken in his original restaurant in North Corbin, he prepared the chicken in an iron skillet, 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 a pressure fryer, resulting in a greatly reduced cooking time comparable to that of deep frying. In 1940 Sanders devised what came to be known as his Original Recipe.

The Sanders Court & Café generally served travelers, often those headed to Florida, so when the route planned in the 1950s for what would become Interstate 75 bypassed Corbin, he sold his properties and traveled the U.S. to sell his chicken to restaurant owners. The first to take him up on the offer was Pete Harman in South Salt Lake, Utah; together, they opened the first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” outlet in 1952. By the early 1960s Kentucky Fried Chicken was sold in over 600 franchised outlets in both the United States and Canada. One of the longest-lived franchisees of the older Col. Sanders’ chicken concept, as opposed to the KFC chain, was the Kenny Kings chain. The company owned many Northern Ohio diner-style restaurants, the last of which closed in 2004. Sanders sold the entire KFC franchising operation in 1964 for $2 million USD Since that time, the chain has been sold three more times, most recently to PepsiCo, which made it part of its Tricon Global Restaurants division, which in turn was spun off in 1997, and has now been renamed to Yum! Brands. Additionally, Colonel Sanders’ nephew, Lee Cummings, took his own Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises (and a chicken recipe of his own) and converted them to his own “spin-off” restaurant chain, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken.

Today, some of the older KFC restaurants have become famous in their own right. One such restaurant is located in Marietta, Georgia. This store is notable for a 56-foot (17 m) tall sign that looks like a chicken. The sign, known locally as the Big Chicken, was built for an earlier fast-food restaurant on the site called Johnny Reb’s Chick, Chuck and Shake. It is often used as a travel reference point in the Atlanta area by locals and pilots.

The original handwritten recipe is kept locked away at the KFC corporate headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky as a closely-guarded secret. Only two members within the Yum! corporation know the recipe in its entirety.



Thomas was originally a franchisee of the original Kentucky Fried Chicken and operated several outlets in the Columbus, Ohio area. His reasoning behind using the paper packaging was that it helped keep the chicken crispy by wicking away excess moisture. The rotating bucket sign was designed by Leonard Goldstein to advertise the availability of Kentucky Fried Chicken at his Lendy’s Restaurants in Roanoke and Salem, VA.

Menu items

This is a list of menu items sold at KFC.

KFC’s Original Recipe fried chicken and French fries

  • KFC’s specialty is fried chicken served in various forms. KFC’s primary product is pressure-fried pieces of chicken made with original recipe. The other chicken offering ,extra crispy, is made using a garlic marinade and double dipping the chicken in flour before deep frying in a standard industrial kitchen type machine.
  • KFC has two lines of sandwiches: its “regular” chicken sandwiches and its Snackers line. The regular sandwiches are served on either a sesame seed or corn dusted roll and are made from either whole breast fillets (fried or roasted), chopped chicken in a sauce or fried chicken strips. The Snackers line are value priced items that consist of chicken strips and various toppings. In the UK, Australia and New Zealand, sandwiches are referred to as “burgers”; there is the chicken fillet burger (a chicken breast fillet coated in an original-recipe coating with salad garnish and mayonnaise) and a Zinger Burger (as with the former but with a spicier coating and salsa). Both of these are available as “tower” variants, which include a slice of cheese and a hash brown.
  • A variety of smaller finger food products are available at KFC including chicken strips, wings, nuggets and popcorn chicken. These products can be ordered plain or with various sauces, including several types of barbecue sauces and buffalo sauce. They also offer potato wedges.
  • Several pies have been made available from KFC. The Pot Pie is a savory pie made with chicken, gravy and vegetables. In the second quarter of 2006, KFC introduced its variation on Shepherd’s pie called the Famous Bowl. Served in a plastic bowl, it is layered with mashed potatoes or rice, gravy, corn, popcorn chicken, cheese, and a biscuit. The bowl had been available at KFC’s special test market store in Louisville since the third quarter of 2005.
  • The KFC Twister is a wrap that consists of either chicken strips or roasted chicken, tomato, lettuce and (pepper) mayonnaise wrapped in a tortilla. In Europe, the Twister is sold in two varieties: 1) the Grilled Twister (chicked strips), and 2) the Grilled Mexican twister/Spicy Toasted Twister (UK) (chicken breast supplemented by tortilla chips and salsa, UK: adds only salsa to pepper mayonnaise),
  • KFC Fillers are a 9″ (22cm) sub, available in four varieties over the summer period in Australia.
  • Shish kebab – in several markets KFC sells kebabs.
Other products


  • In some international locations, KFC may sell hamburgers, pork ribs or fish. In the U.S., KFC began offering the Fish Snacker sandwich during Lent in 2006. The Fish Snacker consists of a rectangular patty of Alaskan Pollock on a small bun, and is the fifth KFC menu item in the Snacker category.
  • Three types of salads (which can be topped with roasted or fried chicken) are available at KFC: Caesar, house, and BLT salads (in the US).
  • The Boneless Banquet
  • Zinger Burger – A regular sized burger which regularly consists of a boneless fillet of hot and spicy chicken, lettuce and mayonnaise in a burger bun. Cheese, tomato, bacon and pineapple can be added upon request. Barbecue sauce can also replace/join the mayonnaise.
  • Chili Cheese Fries – By 2007, 2 former KFC/A&W Restaurants locations in Berlin and Cologne, Germany had reverted to KFC-only locations and the third location in Garbsen (by Hannover) was closed in 2005. The only remnant from the former A&W menu are the Chili Cheese Fries which were added to the systemwide KFC Germany menu.
  • Parfait desserts – “Little Bucket Parfaits” in varieties such as Fudge Brownie, Chocolate Crème (once called the Colonel’s Little Fudge Bucket), Lemon Crème and Strawberry Shortcake are available at most locations in the US.
  • Sara Lee Desserts – Available in either Cookies and Cream Cheesecake or Choc Caramel Mousse.
  • “Variety Bucket” (UK only): consists of either: 1) chicken, popcorn chicken, two sides and a biscuit or 2) Original Recipe Boneless filets, Popcorn Chicken and fries


Discontinued products
  • The Colonel’s Rotisserie Gold – This product was introduced in the 1990s as a response to the Boston Market chain’s roasted chicken products, and a healthier mindset of the general public avoiding fried food. Purportedly made from a “lost” Col. Sanders recipe, it was sold as a whole roaster or a half bird.
  • Tender Roast Chicken – This product was an off-shoot of ‘The Colonel’s Rotisserie Gold’. Instead of whole and half birds, customers were given quarter roasted chicken pieces. For a time, customers could request chicken “original”, “Extra Tasty Crispy”, or “Tender Roast”.
  • Chicken Little sandwich – a value oriented sandwich that sold for $0.39(USD) in the U.S. during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was a small chicken patty with mayonnaise on a small roll, similar to White Castle‘s mini chicken sandwich.
  • Extra Tasty Crispy (ETC) – Chicken much like the Extra Crispy served today, except ETC was prepared using chicken that had been soaking for 15 minutes in a special marinade machine. There is some speculation that the marinade may have been made with trans-fats, and KFC boasts to no longer use trans-fats in their chicken, the known ingredients were garlic and chicken stock. In the summer of 2007, KFC started marketing the chicken just as “Extra Crispy” without the marinade.
  • Kentucky Nuggets were a chicken nugget product available at KFC until 1996. No reason has been given for their discontinuation.
  • Smokey Chipotle – Introduced in April 2008. The chicken was dipped in chipotle sauce then doubled breaded and fried. It has been discontinued since August 2008.
Nutritional value

KFC formerly used partially hydrogenated oil in its fried foods. This oil contains relatively high levels of trans fat, which increases the risk of heart disease. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a court case against KFC, with the aim of making it use other types of oils or make sure customers know about trans fat content immediately before they buy food.

In October 2006, KFC announced that it would begin frying its chicken in trans fat-free oil. This would also apply to their potato wedges and other fried foods, however, the biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes would still contain trans fat. Trans fat-free soybean oil was introduced in all KFC restaurants in the U.S. by 30 April 2007. CSPI announced that it would immediately drop its lawsuit against KFC and was hopeful that this would create a ripple effect on other restaurants or fast food chains that prepare food rich in trans fat. “If KFC, which deep-fries almost everything, can get the artificial trans fat out of its frying oil, anyone can,” CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said in a statement.


KFC’s logo used from 1997 until November 2006

Early television advertisements for KFC regularly featured Colonel Sanders licking his fingers and talking to the viewer about his secret recipe. Despite his death in 1980, this angle was quite common through the 1980s and up until the early-mid 1990s.

Throughout the mid 1980s, KFC called on Will Vinton Studios to produce a series of humorous, claymation ads. These most often featured a cartoon-like chicken illustrating the poor food quality of competing food chains, mentioning prolonged freezing and other negative aspects. TV ads also featured Foghorn Leghorn advising Henery Hawk to visit the restaurant for better chicken.

In the 80s, KFC was an associate sponsor for Junior Johnson‘s NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars, with such drivers as Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, and Terry Labonte.

In 1997 KFC briefly re-entered the NASCAR Winston Cup Series as sponsor of the #26 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Chevrolet with driver Rich Bickle at the Brickyard 400.

A co-branded Long John Silvers and KFC

By the late 1990s, the stylized likeness of Colonel Sanders as the KFC logo had been modified. KFC ads began featuring an animated version of “the Colonel” voiced by Randy Quaid with a lively and enthusiastic attitude. He would often start out saying “The Colonel here!” and moved across the screen with a cane in hand. The Colonel was often shown dancing, singing, and knocking on the TV screen as he spoke to the viewer about the product. In reference to these ads, William Shatner shouted “The Colonel is breakdancing! Give me a break!” in the song “I Can’t Get Behind That

The animated Colonel is uncommon today. Still using a humorous slant, the current KFC campaign revolves mostly around customers enjoying the food. It also features a modified version of Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “Sweet Home Alabama” as the theme song for practically all its commercials, though the restaurant actually hails from Kentucky.

In 2006, KFC claimed to have made the first logo visible from outer space, though Readymix has had one since 1965.<href=”#cite_note-pr-27″ title=””>[28]<href=”#cite_note-28″ title=””>[29] KFC says “[It] marked the official debut of a massive global re-image campaign that will contemporize 14,000-plus KFC restaurants in over 80 countries over the next few years.” The logo was built from 65,000 one-foot-square tiles, and it took six days on site to construct in early November. The logo was placed in the Mojave Desert near Rachel, Nevada.<href=”#cite_note-ap1-29″ title=””>[30] It is located in the northern section of Rachel, Nevada at 37°38?46?N 115°45?03?W / 37.6460°N 115.7507°W / 37.6460; -115.7507 (KFC logo) .

Many KFC locations are co-located with one or more of Yum! Brands restaurants, Long John Silvers, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, or A&W Restaurants. Many of these locations behave like a single restaurant, offering a single menu with food items from both restaurants.

The resurrected Kentucky Fried Chicken logo

One of KFC’s latest advertisements is a commercial advertising its “wicked crunch box meal”. The commercial features a fictional black metal band called “Hellvetica” performing live, the lead singer then swallows fire. The commercial then shows the lead singer at a KFC eating the “wicked crunch box meal” and saying “Oh man that is hot”.

In 2007, the original, non-acronymic Kentucky Fried Chicken name was resurrected and began to reappear on company marketing literature and food packaging, as well as some restaurant signage.

International operations

Examples of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s international operations

(Listed alphabetically by country)

KFC in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia

Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China

KFC at Hohe Straße 120–122 (former Pizza Hut location), one of 3 KFC locations in Cologne, Germany

co-located KFC and Pizza Hut in Kolkata, India

KFC clone (BFC) in Shiraz, Iran

Kingston, Jamaica

Keihan Moriguchi City station, Osaka, Japan

Kuwait City, Kuwait

Bangkok, Thailand


Countries with KFC restaurants

Countries with KFC restaurants


Blue: Countries currently with KFC restaurants

Global locations


In Quebec, KFC was officially rebranded as PFK (Poulet Frit Kentucky) in the late 1970s.


KFC is known as ????? (pinyin: K?n Dé J? Zhà J?) in China.

In 1987, it opened its first store in Beijing, the capital of China. In 2007, it has over 1800 restaurants in 402 cities in all Mainland China‘s provinces other than Tibet. From 2000 to 2005, it was selected as the “Best chain store brand.”


KFC opened its first outlet in Dhaka in 2006. Currently KFC has only four outlets in the country and all of them are in the capital Dhaka. Like its YUM counterpart Pizza Hut it too charges the highest in the subcontinent. Transcom Foods is the local franchisee for KFC, Pizza Hut and Pepsi in the country. KFC is set to open two more outlets this year one in Eskaton, Dhaka the other in Chittagong.


KFC restaurant in Munich at the “Euro-Industie-Park”

The first KFC locations opened in Germany in the 1960s thus making it one of the first European countries where KFC established itself. Currently, there are 60 locations in Germany, with most located in major cities (mostly Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg to name a few). Within the last 6 months, 4 new locations were opened in Augsburg – (Derchinger Strasse), Berlin – (S-Bahnbogen Alexanderplatz), Bremen and Eschborn. The Würselen restaurant reopened in late November after undergoing a major renovation.<href=”#cite_note-35″ title=””>[36] The new Dortmund location opened in April marking the end of a 3-year absence in that city. On May 13, 2008, KFC opened their largest restaurant worldwide in Munich at the “Euro-Industie-Park”. Cologne’s third location opened on April 2nd, 2009 in Cologne-Marsdorf. It is a standalone restaurant which includes a drive-thru lane.


In India, KFC has not established itself in any large way as opposed to another Yum! brand-name restaurant, Pizza Hut, which is prevalent in most Indian cities. It has outlets in Chandigarh, Pune, New Delhi,Lucknow, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai. The success of the Mumbai restaurant led KFC to introduce the hot and spicy chicken flavor which is more acceptable to the Indian palate. More recently, KFC has opened outlets in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.

A life-sized statue of Colonel Sanders (Ken Scott) stands and greets customers outside a KFC in Tokyo, Japan.


KFC is often referred to as (kentakkii ?) in Japanese.

KFC Japan was founded in 1970. A life size statue of the Colonel stands in front of most stores in Japan. Fried chicken is an especially popular dish at Christmas time and on Christmas Eve many families, many of who have made reservations weeks in advance, have their traditional Christmas dinner of Kentucky Fried Chicken at home.


KFC came to Pakistan in 1996 with the first branch opening in Karachi and later in Lahore. The Franchisee was a Pakistani owned and operated, Dubai-based company the Cupola Group, which owns licenses and its own restaurant throughout Pakistan and the middle-east. The company’s creatives have been changed significantly over the years to promote a Pakistani image rather than an American one, after the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, which resulted in loss of significant business.


In the Philippines, the KFC name is turned into an acronym to stand for “Kapag Fried Chicken… mag-KFC” to stand for “If fried chicken… have KFC”.


First KFC restaurant in Poland was opened in 1993 in Warsaw. As of May 2008[update], KFC has 87 restaurants in Poland operated by AmRest company. Many of those restaurants are drive-through. AmRest operates KFC also in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Bulgaria and Serbia.

Puerto Rico

KFC restaurants around the Island are colloquially referred to simply as Kentucky rather than being known as either KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Rostiks-KFC logo

Russia and CIS

Rostik’s-KFC is one of largest fast-food operators in Russia and CIS and is known under the Rostiks name.


KFC is the most popular Western fast-food chain in Taiwan. Local menu items include egg tarts, and lotus root salad.

United Kingdom & Ireland

The first KFC outside of the United States and Canada was opened in Preston, England in 1965, becoming the first American fast food chain to open in the UK, there are now over 750 locations across the UK and Ireland. The franchise was initially run by an independent company known as KFC GB Ltd. until 1986 when Pepsico purchased it as part of a joint venture with Trust house Forte, in 1997 when Tricon (now Yum!) was spun off from Pepsico it gained full ownership of the UK & Ireland operations. The UK & Ireland operation is seen as KFC’s European base and is often used to train franchisees from across Europe due to its great success and restaurant quality. KFC is currently undergoing a massive expansion in the UK which plans to add between 200 and 400 new restaurants in the next 5 years, in the last 5 years 200 restaurants were opened making KFC the fastest growing fast food chain in the UK. If KFC growth continues it will soon overtake McDonald’s (with 1,150 restaurants) as the largest fast food chain in the UK.


Environmental concerns

KFC has been accused of a large destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, because the supply of soy used for chicken food KFC receives from Cargill has been traced back to the European KFC. Cargill has reportedly been exporting soy illegally for several years.The Greenpeace organization researched the issue and brought it to the attention of the parent company YUM! Brands, Inc. The parent company denied the illegal operation, and said that their supply of soy is grown in parts of Brazil. Greenpeace has called on KFC to stop purchasing soy from Cargill, to avoid contributing to the destruction of the Amazon.

Trademark disputes

In 1971, Sanders sued Heublein Inc., KFC’s parent company at the time, over the alleged misuse of his image in promoting products he had not helped develop. In 1975, Heublein Inc. unsuccessfully sued Sanders for libel after he publicly referred to their gravy as “sludge” with a “wallpaper taste”.

In May 2007 KFC (Great Britain) requested that Tan Hill Inn, in the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, UK refrain from using the term ‘Family Feast’ to describe its Christmas menu, although this problem was quickly resolved with the pub being allowed to continue use of the term.

Wages and working conditions

Balmoral KFC workers and allies picketing the store

Like many fast food outlets, KFC employs a high proportion of young, unskilled workers, at or just above minimum wage, and its workers are not unionized. In New Zealand, KFC youth workers earn NZ$10.13 an hour. Staff at the Balmoral, Auckland store went on strike for two hours on December 3, 2005 after Restaurant Brands, the franchise holder, offered no wage increase in contract negotiations. In March of 2006, Restaurant Brands agreed to phase out youth rates in New Zealand, although no date was set.

Many stores in western Canada are unionized with the Canadian Auto Workers, and as a result many non-franchise stores in western Canada pay higher than minimum wage.

Animal rights

Protesters demonstrating outside a KFC restaurant in Royal Oak, Michigan

Since 2003, animal rights and welfare organizations, led by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), have been protesting KFC’s treatment of the animals used for its products. These groups claim that the recommendations of the KFC Animal Welfare Advisory Council have been ignored. Adele Douglass, a former member of the council, said in an SEC filing reported on by the Chicago Times, that KFC “never had any meetings. They never asked any advice, and then they touted to the press that they had this animal-welfare advisory committee. I felt like I was being used.”

KFC responded by saying the chickens used in its products are bought from suppliers like Perdue Farms, Tyson Foods, and Pilgrim’s Pride, and that these suppliers are routinely monitored for animal welfare violations. Several PETA undercover investigations and videos of these and other KFC suppliers purport to show chickens being beaten, ripped apart, and thrown against walls contradict KFC’s claims. PETA has criticised some of the practices of chicken breeders, such as beak trimming and overcrowding, but KFC says its suppliers meets UK legal requirements. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recommends a maximum stocking density of 34kg—around 30 chickens—per square metre, and say that in circumstances where beak trimming needs to be carried out to prevent the birds injuring each other, only one third of the beak should be trimmed “measured from the tip towards the entrance of the nostrils”. PETA states that they have held more than 12,000 demonstrations at KFC outlets since 2003 because of this alleged mistreatment of chickens by KFC suppliers.

In June 2008, KFC Canada agreed to PETA’s demands for better welfare standards, including favoring suppliers who use controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK) of chickens, and other welfare standards as well as introducing a vegan sandwich at 65% of its outlets. PETA has called off its campaign against KFC Canada, but continues to demonstrate against KFC elsewhere in the world.

Urban legends

Urban legends about KFC’s rebranding from Kentucky Fried Chicken include the notion that the Commonwealth of Kentucky planned legal action against the chain due to a trademark on “Kentucky.” Another popular tale is that the chicken products came from highly genetically modified animals without feathers, beaks, or feet, which were easier to harvest; the corollary to the myth is that the chain was forced to change its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC since it otherwise would be falsely advertising their products as being made from actual chickens.

The TLC program Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed had a segment called “Kentucky Fried Rat,” which aired on June 10, 2003. The story described a woman who purchased a dinner from KFC which was supposed to be chicken but turned out to be rat. While the story was not true, there is a similar incident currently undergoing litigation involving Popeye’s restaurant.

There’s more to KFC than great food. We promote education, diversity and animal welfare in a number of positive ways.
The KFC Colonel’s Scholars Program is about you, your dreams and aspirations, and the perseverance to succeed. This program is offered to high school seniors planning to attend a public in-state college or university.
Diversity is more than a philosophy at KFC, it is part of our founding How We Work Together principles. Our global culture is actively developing a workforce that is diverse in style and background, where everyone can make a difference.
Yum! Brands is committed to conducting business in an ethical and responsible manner. To encourage compliance with all legal requirements and ethical business practices, Yum has established a Supplier Code of Conduct for it’s U.S. suppliers.