Whether you call it KFC or Kentucky Fried Chicken, the restaurant that made founder Colonel Sanders a household name is one of the world’s biggest and most successful fast food chains. Today, we can enjoy Colonel Sanders original chicken recipe alongside 20,000 KFC locations worldwide. Here are 7 things you probably didn’t know about KFC.
It Introduced Chicken to the Fast Food Industry
Before KFC came along, fast food was synonymous with hamburgers and fries, and chicken was traditionally home-cooked or eaten at family-style restaurants. Fried chicken, in particular, wasn’t thought of as “fast food” because it wasn’t fast: Making pan-fried chicken is a slow and careful process, and even deep-fried chicken can take upwards of 15 minutes to prepare.
Sanders Was One of the First Cooks to Use a Pressure Fryer
The pressure cooker was released commercially in 1939, and almost immediately Sanders modified it into an early pressure fryer. Despite the danger of explosion, Sanders began to use it exclusively, because, in his opinion, the resulting flavor closely resembled that achieved by using a frying pan.
Eating at KFC Is a Christmas Tradition in Japan
Even though a very small percentage of Japan is Christian, they’ve adopted Christmas as, basically, the holiday when you eat KFC. Seriously: In Japan, KFC and Christmas are synonymous. The chain records its highest volume of sales in Japan on Christmas Eve, and Japan Airlines even serves KFC on select flights during the Christmas season. This correlation is the result of a smart marketing campaign that started in 1974 and continues to this day.
He spent years franchising his fried chicken recipe:
After the construction of a highway dislodged his business, Sanders traveled around the country selling small-town restaurant owners the rights to use his recipe in return for a four cent fee on every chicken sold.
There’s an All-You-Can Eat KFC Buffet in Osaka, Japan
A couple years ago, the very first (and only) all-you-can-eat KFC buffet opened in Osaka, Japan; customers pay $16-21 and have 90 minutes to eat all they want. There’s also eight different ice cream flavors, croissants, lasagna, spaghetti, and some other surprises.
There Are More Than 300 KFC Menu Items Worldwide
Depending on where you are in the world, the menu at the local KFC can vary drastically from other countries. For example, in Japan, Jamaica, and other island countries, fried seafood is sold as “Colonel’s Catch”; onion rings are sold in many countries; congee and tree fungus salad are on the menu in China; you can buy spaghetti at Indonesian locations; and a chickpea burger can be found in India.
The original recipe is greatly guarded by the company
The blend of 11 herbs and spices that went into Sanders’ original fried chicken recipe is still in use today, and its components remain a mystery, even though many have tried to decipher it. Infact, a Sanders-signed copy of the recipe is inside a vault in KFC’s Louisville headquarters, and even the manufacturers don’t know what goes into it.