KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) vector logo
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About KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)
KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) 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 chicken restaurant chain and the second largest restaurant chain overall as measured by sales after McDonald’s, with over 17,000 outlets in 115 countries and territories as of December 2011. KFC restaurants offer consistent branding and similar menus worldwide. Most outlets are operated on a franchise basis, with a minority operated directly by the company itself. Franchisees purchase certain items from the parent company, pay a royalty as a percentage of earnings, and contribute towards local advertising costs.
KFC was founded by Harland Sanders, who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression. Sanders was one of the first people to see the potential of the restaurant franchising concept, with the first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” franchise opening in Utah in 1952. The franchise popularized chicken in the fast food industry, thereby diversifying the market and challenging the dominance of the hamburger. Marketing himself as “Colonel Sanders”, he became a legendary figure of American cultural history, and his image is still prominently used in KFC branding. The company’s rapid expansion saw it grow too large for Sanders to manage, and he eventually sold the company to a group of investors. KFC was one of the first fast food chains to go international, opening outlets in England, Mexico and Puerto Rico by the mid-1960s. 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. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, KFC experienced 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 1987 KFC became the first Western restaurant chain to open in China. KFC has since expanded rapidly in China, and the country is now the company’s most profitable market. 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.
KFC primarily sells fried chicken pieces and variations such as chicken sandwiches and wraps, salads and 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 is unknown, and represents a notable trade secret. Large portions of fried chicken are served in a cardboard “bucket”, which has become a signature of the chain since being introduced by franchisee Pete Harman. KFC is famous for the slogan “finger lickin’ good”, which has since been replaced by “Nobody does chicken like KFC” and “So good”.
KFC has been the target of an ongoing campaign by the animal rights organization PETA, although company executives have protested that the chain is unfairly singled out for criticism. The chain has also been accused by Greenpeace of contributing to the destruction of the world’s rainforests with unsustainably sourced cardboard and paper packaging. In 2012, in China, the company was found to have been buying poultry that had been raised with excessive levels of growth hormone and antibiotics. This resulted in a restaurant boycott by a large number of Chinese through December and January of 2013.