Success Story Of KFC Founder Who Delivered Babies Before Hitting It Big At 62

Hanima Anand |Mar 31, 2021

The founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken used to do many jobs before finding the secret to his immense success at the age of 60s. Check unknown facts you never heard about Harland Sanders!

KFC, or Kentucky Fried Chicken, is currently the second-largest restaurant chain in the world, only behind McDonald’s.  Though the chain belongs to Yum! Brands, the company owning Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and also WingStreet, KFC was made well-known by an old man named Colonel Harland Sanders.

This person has gone through lots of ups and downs before making it big with his world-famous dishes. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about the KFC ambassador.

An experienced hand in various jobs

Colonel Harland Sanders was born in 1890 in Indiana in the US. His father worked on the farm to feed the entire family before he’s dead. After that, his mother worked in a tomato cannery, leaving Harland to cook for and take care of his siblings.

Harland Sanders Young Photo
A rare young photo of Harland Sanders

At the age of 10, Sanders got his first job on the farm. Three years later, after his mother remarried, Sanders left home and earned money by painting horse carriages. He continued working as a farmhand for several years.

Then he took many different jobs, being a conductor, a blacksmith’s helper, a fireman and even practicing law. However, none of these proved successful.

He ended up returning to his mother’s town and worked as a laborer. In his biography, Harland Sanders recounted that the husbands in the region could not afford a doctor when their wives were pregnant, so he took the job.

After that, he also experimented with a sales job, established a boat company, and run a service station before it was closed due to the Great Depression.

When a door closes, another door opens

After the oil company closed the station, Sanders rent another service station from the Shell Oil Company by paying them a percentage of sales. Initially, he only served country ham, steaks and some simple chicken dishes.

Harland Sanders And Earl Abel Eating Kfc
Harland Sanders (right) in his typical suits eating KFC with a friend

In fact, Sanders was involved in a shootout with his local competitor. As the other killed a Shell employee who was working with Sanders, he was sent to prison. Sanders had no competitor in the region after that and continued expanding his restaurant business.

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It’s not until 1939 that Sanders’ restaurant got nationwide popularity thanks to the food critic Duncan Hines. One year after that, Sanders finalized his secret recipe for fried chicken dishes which were cooked in a pressure fryer instead of a pan.

Starting a restaurant chain at the age of 62

Twelve years after practicing his secret recipe, Sanders started franchising his Kentucky Fried Chicken to Pete Harman, who owned one of the biggest restaurants in the city of South Salt Lake in Utah.

First Kfc Restaurant
The very first franchise restaurant of KFC in Utah

The addition of fried chicken to the menu did bring instant success to Harman, leading to more restaurants asking to be a KFC franchise. According to reports, Sanders was paid $0.04 for each chicken sold in those franchised restaurants.

78-year-old Sanders sued KFC after selling it

In 1964, Sanders sold KFC for $2 million to a partnership. In 1971, the food conglomerate Heublein purchased the company.

Harland Sanders Kfc Founder
Sanders remained the company's ambassador after he sold KFC.

However, Sanders so disliked the food at KFC run by Heublein that he constantly defamed the chain. He even planned to open a restaurant to compete with Heublein’s KFC though he’s still the company’s public face.

When Heublein knew his intention and threatened to block it, Sanders sued the company for $122 million. In the end, he received $1 million in a peaceful settlement. Sanders promised not to criticize KFC’s food while Heublein let him open his restaurant.

Harland Sanders At Old Age
He frequently appeared in public in a KFC suit until the very last month of his life.

Colonel Harland Sanders died of pneumonia at the age of 90. More than 1,000 people had attended his funeral. By the time of his death, he left behind nearly 6,000 KFC outlets in 48 countries with the annual sales of roughly $2 billion in 1980.

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