The ideal comfort food for some may be sweets, for others, perhaps it’s potato chips, but for many, fried chicken reigns supreme in this category. As far as friend chicken goes, KFC is often considered the gold standard, and their success proves the product quality.
Kentucky and Beyond
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) started out as a local delight. The company is still headquartered in Louisville today, a nod to the importance of its roots, despite having 21,000 locations in more than 130 countries around the globe.
The secret blend of herbs and spices is still KFC’s backbone, as it was in its early years, but the company has a long line of successful spinoff endeavors that keep consumers coming back to the chain for their entire lives.
Worth a Salute
As you likely well know, KFC was founded by a man named Colonel Harland Sanders. Colonel Sanders began cooking his chicken for customers back in 1930, perfecting his recipe and gaining local notoriety at Sanders Court and Cafe.
When the Colonel reach retirement age in 1955, he decided to franchise his life’s work and create Kentucky Fried Chicken. Only 10 years later, more than 600 KFC locations had opened in America. At that point, at the age of 75, Colonel Sanders sold his interest in KFC, but he’s still the company’s much-loved hero today.
Colonel Sanders is almost as integral to the KFC brand as the chicken itself; as times change, the Colonel’s original recipe remains, giving KFC its signature flavor.
Battle for The Best Fried Chicken
Though KFC is technically in competition with all other fast food chains, it is most directly competing with other friend chicken brands. Chick-Fil-A and Popeyes are the biggest threats to KFC, with Chick-Fil-A already having surpassed the much older KFC in rank.
KFC is evidently aware of this trend, as they rolled out a plan several years ago to return to old-school tactics in order to regain their customer base.
The Colonel’s Lasting Impression
Perhaps in accordance with its back to basics plan of action, KFC has returned to utilizing the Colonel’s likeness in the last few years. In a creative turn, they have chosen celebrities like Jason Alexander and Billy Zane to portray the famous creator.
In another ploy for publicity, KFC has engaged in a series of partnerships by way of crossovers, like a recent one with Cheetos.
Less Than Appetizing
In 2017, a video surfaced that showed KFC employees engaging in practices like using sides that were several days old. Having been filmed in 2013, the video came before KFC affirmed its recommitment to upholding Colonel Sanders’ old standards.
The video sparked some outcry, as patrons felt slightly sickened by the entire ordeal, even if it was an old issue. However, the chain had already spent many hours on turning franchise habits around when they failed to meet the newly updated standards. Unfortunately for KFC, they had already worked to mitigate these sorts of issues by the time this one came to light, but they paid for it in the public eye nonetheless.
Efforts Paying Off
KFC’s attempts at revitalizing the brand are evidently working, as they landed at number 86 on the Forbes list of Most Valuable Brands for 2019. This as the brand is valued at $8.5 billion.
With nearly 90 years behind them and a newfound respect for their history, there’s no telling just how far into the future you may be enjoying Kentucky Fried Chicken.