The origin story of KFC, a global fast-food juggernaut with more than 27,000 franchised restaurants in over 145 countries, is the stuff of restaurant industry legend. in 1940, Harland Sanders, the larger-than-life character who christened himself “the Colonel,” devised his recipe for pressure-fried chicken with a proprietary blend of herbs and spices.
While Sanders may indeed have been from Kentucky, his Kentucky Fried Chicken didn’t really take off until a decade later in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1952, the Colonel franchised his recipe to Pete Harman, a local restaurateur in the city. A sign painter at Harman Café by the name of Rodney L. Anderson had the clever idea to refer to the product as Kentucky-fried chicken instead of Southern-fried to make it stand out.
Within a matter of weeks, the restaurant was a runaway hit. Sanders and Harman remained close friends for the remainder of their lives and many credit the latter with KFC’s commercial success. Although the original Harman’s Café was demolished and rebuilt, the place still proudly proclaims itself to be the world’s first KFC.
Know Before You Go
Tour buses with passengers from all over the world routinely stop by the restaurant.