The KFC Colonel Sanders Story


Our founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. An icon. A legend. A failure. That’s right, a failure. Colonel Sanders had to put in some seriously hard graft before his Original Recipe Chicken finally spread its wings across the world. If you want to learn more about the Colonel’s story and KFC’s history, check out the video below and read our FAQs all about the big man himself.

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8 things about KFC's Colonel Sanders you may not know


When was KFC founded?

KFC was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders and he opened the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1952, with the first franchisee Pete Harman.


Which was the first KFC restaurant to open in the UK?

The first UK KFC restaurant opened in Fishergate in Preston, Lancashire back in May 1965. And it’s thanks to business partners Harry Latham and Raymond Allen, who worked under the supervision of the Colonel to bring the famous KFC franchise across the pond. 


How old is KFC?

Well the first KFC restaurant opened in Salt Lake City in 1952. So in 2022 KFC will be turning the big 70.


How old was Colonel Sanders when he started KFC?

Colonel Sanders officially started KFC when he turned 40, back in 1930. He bought a roadside motel in Corbin, Kentucky, and started serving his southern style chicken. But Colonel Sanders didn’t perfect his unique blend of 11 herbs and spices that are still used today, and still top secret, until 1939.


What did Colonel Sanders do before KFC chicken?

What didn’t our KFC Colonel do? After leaving home at 13 he took a job painting horse carriages. Then another working as a train conductor. He practised law for three years in Little Rock, Arkansas. Then got a job selling life insurance. After that he started a ferryboat company - why not?! Then cashed that in to set up an acetylene lamp manufacturing business. Next he opened a string of gas stations. That didn’t go so well. So that’s when he started serving wary travellers passing through his gas stations the same fried chicken he grew up eating. They loved it. So he expanded and opened his first KFC franchise in 1952 in Salt Lake City after perfecting his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices. I think we can all agree that Colonel Sanders was a real man, and a pretty amazing one at that.


When did the KFC Original Bucket first appear?

The Original KFC bucket first appeared in 1957 and has now come to be recognised worldwide.


What’s in the Colonel's secret blend of 11 herbs and spices?

If we told you what was in the Colonel’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices it wouldn’t be a secret now would it? Our lips are sealed.


When did KFC’s Colonel Sanders die?

After a rich and full life, the man, the legend, Colonel Sanders sadly passed away in 1980 at the age of 90. He’s one of the most recognisable people on Earth, helping to spread his Original Recipe finger lickin’ good chicken around the world. And we couldn’t be more thankful


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