For many people, “Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)” may conjure up the image of the iconic Colonel Sanders.
But did you know that Colonel Sanders—the man with a signature white goatee, wearing his trademark white suit—was actually the founder of the popular American fast food chain, which now has outlets in 109 countries around the globe?
Here, we’ve compiled 10 interesting “finger-lickin’ good” KFC facts, which many of you probably didn’t know.
1. KFC began in 1930 at a gas station
Back in 1930, Colonel Harland Sanders started operating a service station along U.S. Route 25 in Corbin, Kentucky, where he served meals to drivers who stopped by for gas.
In this establishment named Sanders Court & Cafe, he brought to perfection his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the cooking technique using pressure cookers that made Kentucky Fried Chicken world famous.
The original Colonel is back. And he brought his Original Recipe chicken. And flowers. pic.twitter.com/WJRlNJmBZj
— KFC (@kfc) August 8, 2017
2. The recipe is top secret!
To this day, few people know about Sanders’s secret Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe.
The multi-million-dollar formula remains a mystery and is locked in a safe at KFC’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.
To ensure no one has the full recipe, KFC hires one spice company to blend part of the formula, and another to blend the rest!
3. KFC “bucket of chicken”
The first KFC bucket of chicken was launched in 1957 by Sanders and his first franchisee, Pete Harman.
The original bucket was filled with 15 pieces of chicken, a pint of gravy, and biscuits, according to The National Museum of American History.
4. Sanders struck it rich
After Sanders began to franchise the business in 1952, KFC emerged to be the largest fast food chain in America by 1964 with over 600 restaurants.
At the age of 74, Sanders made a fortune when he sold the business to John Brown Jr. and Jack Massey for an annual salary of $2 million.
5. In Japan, it’s become a Christmas tradition to eat KFC
In 1974, Japan’s first KFC store manager, Takeshi Okawara, initiated a marketing ploy known as “Kurisumasu ni wa Kentakkii (Kentucky for Christmas).”
Not only did the successful nationwide campaign draw Japanese to place orders at the fast food chain for a Christmas chicken dinner, it also made KFC synonymous with Christmas in Japan.
Since then, it has become a Japanese Christmas tradition to dig into KFC meal-sized boxes containing chicken, cake, and wine.
6. KFC appointed its first female Colonel Sanders in 2018
In January 2018, KFC introduced a series of new commercials featuring its first-ever female Colonel Sanders, portrayed by country singer Reba McEntire.
In the commercials, McEntire is dressed up as Colonel Sanders and wears the trademark white suit and black string tie, complete with a white beard and mustache.
— CNN (@CNN) January 27, 2018
7. KFC’s slogan is “Eat your fingers off” in China
In China, the catchy “finger lickin’ good” slogan has been translated to a not-so-appealing phrase—“Eat your fingers off.”
The translation blunder didn’t stop KFC from achieving success in the country—KFC is the most popular fast food chain in China, with over 5,000 restaurants in 1,100 Chinese cities, Business Insider reported.
8. There’s a museum for Colonel Sanders
On Sept. 9, 1990, the Sanders Cafe in North Corbin, Kentucky, reopened its doors to the public as a museum. It showcases the cafe’s 1940s dining room and a reconstructed Harland Sanders kitchen.
If you wish to learn more about KFC and Sanders, do head to this historic Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum!
9. President Donald Trump loves KFC
On Aug. 2, 2016, U.S. president Donald Trump—dubbed the “fast-food president”—tweeted a photo of himself flashing his megawatt smile as he ate a bucket of KFC chicken with a fork on the plane.
Great afternoon in Ohio & a great evening in Pennsylvania – departing now. See you tomorrow Virginia! pic.twitter.com/jQTQYBFpdb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2016
10. KFC gifted Carson Daly with one-of-a-kind chicken nugget “cufflinks”
In 2014, when Today show host Carson Daly was reporting on KFC’s debuting $20 drumstick corsages for prom, he proposed that the fast food chain should contrive “cufflinks” with “little McNuggets” for the men too.
KFC heard Daly’s suggestion and gave him a pair of deliciously handsome “cufflinks” with edible chicken nuggets stuck on them.