KFC Success Story — Chickens Run Fast
Here is the inspirational Success Story of a business person who grew his business — known today as KFC — from scratch and has been an excellent example of resolution, dedication, and conviction.
Many world personalities never let their dreams down irrespective of facing immense adversities in their careers.
Colonel Harland Sanders is one of them and a robust character in the business domain who successfully marketed Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “finger-lickin’ good.”
Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC, took his failures as a challenge and converted them into opportunities by his strong will-power.
WarningHis whole life was full of hardships even though he established his business with firmness and expanded globally with meticulous planning and so his success story is a great motivation to any entrepreneur.
Colonel Sanders was rejected 1009 times before successfully selling his Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe!
He had failed at every job he’d tried earlier on in his life, lawyer, salesman, you name it. The Colonel’s success story is so inspiring, and filled with hope for others who think it’s too late.
A fabulous idea tightly coupled with a good dose of courage is the best combo for success in business.
A haven for foodies, there’s lot to take away from KFC other than just the mouth-watering taste that lingers at the tip of your tongue.
Behind the freshness and the crunchiness of the chicken that we bite into are years of sweat and blood, shed by Colonel Sanders.
The success story of KFC is a great source of inspiration for anyone who wants to start up a business.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 years old or 70. This success story has some powerful points to bring to the table to help you skyrocket your business. Read on!
It’s Never Too Late
KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) was established by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1952 in Utah. He worked for many years in various fields with mixed success before starting fast food chain KFC.
Harland grew up poor and needed to become self-sufficient at an early age.
Following his father’s death when he was only six, his mother’s work kept her away from home for extended periods and the young Colonel needed to learn to cook and care for his siblings.
In 1930 Colonel Sanders became a franchisee of Shell Oil Company.
WarningTimes were hard and money was tight during the Depression, so, to improve his sales, he began to sell chicken dishes, steak, ham, and other comfort food to his customers.
He used to cook his recipes in his free time and sell them to people from his storehouse which he had converted into a small restaurant.
His original restaurant was a kitchen table he placed in front of the service station and eventually, he opened up Sander’s Café—his first true restaurant—across the street from the service station.
It was in that restaurant that he perfected his secret recipe and the construction of his pressure fryer.
ImportantHe developed what he called his “Original Recipe” comprising of 11 herbs and spices in July 1940 and cooked his chicken in a pressure cooker he invented to speed the frying process.
In 1952, Colonel Sanders franchised his secret recipe “Kentucky Fried Chicken” for the first time.
ImportantHe always looked towards expanding his production process and customer’s demand. He traveled to several restaurants and showed the restaurant owners his chicken recipe on the spot to expand his business.
During this journey, he got a rejection from 1009 restaurants.
He slept in back of his car quite often, while visiting the restaurants to offer the franchise if the staff liked his chicken. He ran the company and his wife Claudia mixed and shipped the spices to restaurants.
However, he never gives up as he was confident about his unique recipe and its taste.
By the year 1963, nearly 600 restaurants agreed to sell the recipe and Kentucky chicken — making it a brand.
The Tipping Point
The franchise approach was the demand of the town; KFC was one of the first fast food chains to expand internationally, opening outlets in Canada and later in the UK, Mexico and Jamaica by the mid-1960s.
It was during the early franchise period that the Colonel Sanders met Dave Thomas.
Dave at the time was working as a cook for the Clauss family operators of the Hobby House restaurants. It was Dave who developed the classic wobbly red-and-white-striped chicken bucket that became the classic sign outside of each Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
Dave Thomas also streamlined the method of food-to-customer delivery by creating the “snake” line—still used today.
WarningAgainst the Colonel’s advice, Dave Thomas took over eight failing restaurants and was so successful in turning them around that he was able to sell them and begin his own chain of hamburger restaurants, Wendy’s.
KFC continued focusing on the fried chicken when there was dominance of hamburger.
Overwhelmed by the growth of the company, aging Colonel Sanders sold the company in 1964 for two million dollars.
Colonel Sanders continued visiting Kentucky Fried Chicken locations and, as its brand ambassador, filmed many TV commercials and made personal appearances.
While still its brand ambassador, the Colonel opened “Claudia Sanders Dinner House” restaurant in Shelbyville, Kentucky, in 1968.
This restaurant was the only non-Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant to serve a true version of Sander’s original recipe. The restaurant was sold in the 1970s.
Colonel Sanders died at the age of 90 years in December 16, 1980.
ImportantKentucky Fried Chicken continues to be a well-known franchise brand, currently ranking #24 on Entrepreneur’s “Franchise 500” list, and with more than 4,000 locations worldwide as of 2020.
Today KFC has established itself as the 2nd largest food chain spread globally in 136 countries.
It's Finger Lickin' Good!
Colonel Sanders obtained a patent protecting his method of pressure frying chicken in 1962, and trademarked the phrase “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good” in 1963.
KFC quite early realized that time means money.
ImportantKFC serves its customer fast, saving their time which encourages consumer to come to its services again and again. Retention of customer is higher in KFC and it is one of the major reasons behind the success of KFC.
From its early beginnings, the latest tech has been sought to keep KFC ahead of the game.
Pressure cooker makes it possible to boil the liquid at higher temperature then normal boiling point. Therefore killing the germs, making the food last longer and retaining the nutrient, thus making the food tastier.
Not only was his cooking technique unique but the recipe he used was in itself quite interesting.
KFC boasts of a secret recipe of ‘11 herbs and spices’ that’s responsible for its worldwide fame. This was never revealed to the public but was, as he famously admitted, made of ingredients that “stand on everybody’s shelf”.
KFC isn’t a brand that has rested on its laurels throughout its history.
Recently, KFC has announced that they are trialing plant-based “chicken” to add to their repertoire of meal options. By working with Beyond Meat, a plant-based protein company, customers will be given the option on a free sample basis to seek their feedback.
They have also experimented with cryptocurrency in recent years.
KFC Canada has allowed, since 2018, customers to buy “The Bitcoin Bucket” via KFC’s website. The Bitcoin Bucket contains ten chicken tenders, waffle fries, a medium side, a medium gravy, and two dips.
In China, franchises are also experimenting with facial-recognition to help create “smart restaurants“.
The idea is to remember a customer’s previous choices and create personalized options for them when they next visit. This artificial intelligence-enabled technology is the result of a partnership between KFC and Baidu.
The “Original Recipe” made by Colonel Sanders is the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of KFC. It is the most important factory behind KFC success story.
No other fast food company has unique taste of chicken that KFC has. KFC is popular all around the globe for its taste.
ImportantYou have to see opportunities as they are always out there to grabbed by you. When Colonel Sanders realized that his fried chicken recipe would be a hit, he went for it instantly.
The main reason for Success and growth of KFC is due to the franchise system in which it operates.
Colonel Sanders’ fried chicken was a hit in Kentucky. But he wasn’t satisfied with it, he was looking at the bigger picture. He started KFC franchise and within a small period of time, there were many KFC restaurants across the US.
In a franchise system, everything is documented and there are strict rules for running the business.
WarningThese rules are actually an accumulated wisdom and know-how the franchise system has developed after a few decades of operation.
Being unique and coming up with innovative solutions to solve problems efficiently is what sets most successful entrepreneurs apart.
Colonel Sanders originally prepared his chicken in an iron skillet but soon realized that it wasn’t efficient in a restaurant setting. Determined to reduce the waiting time of customers, he adopted the usage of pressure fryer.
The only way to gain an edge over your opponents is to try out something different.
ImportantIn today’s world, with numerous competitors in each business, mainstream solutions are going obsolete, with problems becoming more complex on a daily basis.
KFC is valued only behind McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway in fast food chain.
KFC is running successfully with its franchise in 150 countries as of 2020 and it is the world’s second-largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald’s, with almost 20,000 locations globally.
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 32,500 in more than 100 countries and territories.
The epitome of success past one’s prime, Colonel Sanders tasted success fairly late in his life. It was only when he was on the verge of saying goodbye to this world that his love for cooking dawned upon him.
Age is just a number when you’re aiming for success.
ImportantFinding his true calling, he pursued it with passion and founded an enterprise that shook the food industry. Starting a venture at the age of 65, he proved the saying: It’s never too late to start all over again.
Failure is inevitable on the way to success.
WarningFailure happens to all of us. In fact, if you never fail, that’s most likely because you never tried. Since failure is inevitable, what matters is how you respond to it. If you respond correctly, failure can’t stop you.
Success doesn’t come overnight. Its secret sauce includes willpower, perseverance and hard work.
Colonel Sanders had a tough life, he did hundreds of odd jobs before founding KFC. But he never let himself to be decided by fate instead he kept on working.
Make the most of what you have.
While being in a bad situation, many people focus on what they don’t have. But that’s not the way to go. What you should do is look at what you do have.
Don’t be afraid to start small. As long as you get started, and work hard, progression will come.
Colonel Sanders started selling KFC by the side of the road, on a small scale. After selling the recipe, it vastly grew, and franchises were being opened all over the world.
Persistence always pays off.
ImportantIt’s not easy to sell fried-chicken the way Colonel Sanders did. He must have experienced many rejections. But that didn’t stop him. He kept moving forward.
The lesson we learn from KFC and Colonel Sanders is that success is achievable at any age. The only thing required is your conviction towards fulfilling your dream at any stage of your life.
KFC has grown from a backroom in a fuel station in the middle of nowhere, to become the de facto chicken fast food restaurant chain in the world.
Today it enjoys a massive global presence and its food is enjoyed by millions of people every day.
Yes, Colonel Sanders may have lacked the motivation to become as wealthy as he could have been.
WarningBut he’s now known in 150 countries for his favorite fried chicken recipe, which is more than he ever could have hoped for when he hit the road at age 65 with a car full of cooking supplies.
Even though KFC success story is a quintessential rags-to-riches story, the lessons learnt are quite different.
ImportantBattling age, Colonel Sanders tapped into an unprecedented repository of energy which fuelled him to go and start his own company. Courtesy the viral taste of his fried chicken, the chain grew rapidly and turned into a international franchise soon.
While you might not leave a trace of KFC fried chicken on your plate, this success story has for sure left a trace of its legacy in everyone’s heart.
Always believe in yourself wholeheartedly, the burning desire to succeed will pave your path towards your dream despite everything even your age!
How many of Colonel Sanders’ success lessons do you agree with? Leave a comment below.