Colonel Harland Sanders: KFC Entrepreneur
Colonel Harland Sanders has one of the most recognisable faces in the world today, but many people would not actually know it if they saw it. This is because it has long been the face of KFC, or Kentucky Fried Chicken to give the company its full name. The red and white KFC icon features the face of the entrepreneur that made it the global force it is today. Much can be learned from Sanders and his example is certainly one that solicits respect from those that have effectively followed in his footsteps.
The Child Cook
Colonel Harland Sanders was born in Henryville, Indiana on September 9, 1890 into a working class family. His parents worked hard, but Sanders virtually had to bring himself up from the age of six when his father died suddenly. The entrepreneur helped around the house because his mother was forced to work to support the family as a result of his father’s absence. He learned how to cook at an early age and found that he enjoyed it. However, he was forced to stop cooking for others for a while when he was old enough to go out to work himself.
Sanders dropped out of the seventh grade, never to return to school because his education was perceived as less important than supporting the family. Between then and 1918, the entrepreneur went from job to job earning whatever money he could to help out at home. Those jobs included a farmer, a steamboat driver, an insurance salesman and a railroad fireman. In 1918 he enlisted in the United States Army and was stationed in Cuba. However, none of the career paths he had begun to journey along appealed to him. Instead, the entrepreneur decided to go back to his roots and cook.
The Start Of KFC
In 1930, Sanders took over the ownership of a service station in Corbin, Kentucky. It was extremely small and did not even have a dining section but the entrepreneur resolved to serve food nevertheless. He offered a range of chicken dishes and soon built up a following in the local area. As such, he had to move from the service station to a local motel. Sanders took on the role of chef and was soon running out of tables every day, despite the fact that it seated 142 people.
Ever the entrepreneur, Sanders developed his chicken recipes whilst at the motel and began to serve unique and tasty dishes by using a pressure fryer to cook it quickly and sprinkling it with a crust recipe with secret ingredients that made it unlike anything anyone had ever tasted before. Again, the entrepreneur’s popularity grew and so did the demand for his food!
Although Sanders was making good money from his restaurant, the custom began to dissipate after highway I-75 was completed. Not to be deterred, Sanders chose to name his brand Kentucky Fried Chicken and chose to franchise it, offering others the chance to make a living from it. At the age of 65, Sanders had taken his invention to all points of the United States and was to eventually take the restaurant franchise global.
Colonel Harland Sanders died on December 16, 1980 at the age of 90. At the time, he was a hugely successful entrepreneur. The results of his business venture are visible for all to see as he remains the face of Kentucky Fried Chicken to this day. The recipe for the crust of the chicken is still a secret and will undoubtedly remain so. Although Sanders could have made far more of his venture had he had the business acumen to do it earlier in his life. However, he made his money doing what he loved and is now a legend in his own right.