After spending months at an undisclosed location while its safe was being upgraded, KFC’s secret handwritten fried chicken recipe of 11 herbs and spices has returned home to Kentucky. According to the Associated Press, the recipe was returned safely late Monday in a lock box handcuffed to the wrist of a security expert.
KFC President Roger Eaton breathed a sigh of relief as the KFC secret recipe, handwritten in pencil on a single sheet of age-yellowed paper, was placed in its new electronic safe (which, by the way, is protected with motion detectors and a security camera). Eaton said that while the KFC secret recipe was at the aforementioned undisclosed location awaiting the upgrade, his nerves were frayed. He said that he didn’t want to be “the only president who’s lost the recipe.”
KFC Secret Recipe Safe: Why all the Fuss?
KFC is, to be sure, an iconic brand. Over a period of many years, Colonel Harland Sanders (the official face of KFC) developed his secret fried chicken recipe while running a restaurant in southeastern Kentucky. When the construction of Interstate 75 negatively impacted his business, Colonel Sanders decided to franchise his restaurant. Harland Sanders, who died in 1980, sold the Kentucky Fried Chicken corporation in 1964 for $2 million.
But it was no doubt Harland Sanders’ distinctive likeness and tasty fried chicken recipe that was largely responsible for the great success of the KFC chain. Marketing professor Thomas P. Hustad says that both the recipe and Harland Sanders help set KFC apart in the minds of consumers. He says that the “heritage” value of the secret recipe can be equated with that of the Coke formula. Today, KFC has over 15,000 locations worldwide.
KFC Secret Recipe Safe: Trouble in Paradise?
Despite the storied history and past success of KFC, the chain, which is now owned by the mighty fast-food behemoth Yum Brands, Inc. (Yum also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), is experiencing a decline in sales. Indeed, it seems that the Colonel’s secret recipe is no longer cutting the mustard. Thus, KFC is introducing its first nationwide value menu (one already exists in California). And starting in April, KFC will start offering a line of grilled chicken products to accommodate those whose waistlines can ill afford the high calories in fried chicken.
Will the recipes for the new grilled chicken products warrant being placed in a hi-tech electronic safe? Time will tell.
Colonel’s secret recipe in new, safer vault at KFC, Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press
Yum’s KFC Plans Value Menu Launch Next Week, CNNMoney.com, February 4, 2009
Harland Sanders, Wikipedia