Our Story

A success story that feeds the soul

Colonel Sanders is an iconic figure that everyone recognizes.

DISCOVER The success story of Colonel Sanders

Early Years

Harland Sanders was born on September 9, 1890, in Henryville, Indiana. In 1896 his father passed away, forcing his mother to work to support the family.

Because of this, young Harland found himself taking care of his younger siblings and doing much of the family's cooking when he was only six years old. He had a natural talent and just a year later had already mastered several regional dishes. Despite his aptitude and passion for cooking, over the next 30 years, Sanders explored several different career paths: from a streetcar conductor to an insurance salesman.


The Cook Becomes a Colonel

It wasn’t until 1930, when Sanders was 40 years old, that he decided to take his love for cooking to the next level. At that time, he was operating a service station in Corbin, Kentucky, and began cooking for hungry travelers who stopped in for gas.

There was no restaurant initially and so patrons were welcomed and served at Sander’s own dining table in the station's humble living quarters. This was when he invented home meal replacement, the concept of selling complete meals to busy, time-strapped families.

He called it

Sunday Dinner, Seven Days a Week

Sanders’s motivation to share the satisfaction of good food and this pioneering spirit were starting to shine.
  • As Sanders' fame grew, Governor Ruby Laffoon
  • a Kentucky Colonel in 1935 in recognition of his contributions to the state's cuisine.
within 04 years
his establishment was listed in Duncan Hines' "Adventures in Good Eating."
As more people started coming exclusively for the food, Sanders expanded his restaurant to meet the demand.
 A culinary adventurer, 
over the next decade, he experimented until he perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and his basic cooking technique that are still used today.

The Colonel’s Cooking
Spreads Worldwide

A few years later,
the Colonel decided to share his cooking with the world. In 1955, confident of the quality of his fried chicken, the Colonel devoted himself to developing his chicken franchising business.
less than10years later
  • more than600KFC franchises
  • in the US
    & Canada
In 1964,
he sold his interest in the U.S. company for $2 million to a group of investors including John Y. Brown Jr. (who later became governor of Kentucky).

Under the new owners, Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation grew rapidly. It went public in 1966, was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1969 and eventually was acquired by PepsiCo, Inc. in 1986. In 1997, PepsiCo, Inc. spun-off of its quick service restaurants- including KFC-into an independent restaurant company, Tricon Global Restaurants, Inc. Today, the restaurant company (now YUM! Brands, Inc.), is the world's largest in terms of system units with nearly 35,000 in more than 100 countries and territories.

Until he was fatally stricken with leukemia in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel

traveled 250,000Miles a year
KFC restaurants
the world
While the Colonel left this world in 1980, KFC endures. From its modest beginnings,

KFC has grown into one of the largest quick service food service brands in the world with more than a billion “so good” KFC dinners served annually in more than 80 countries and territories.