KFC — also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken — is a Louisville, Ky.-based quick-service fried chicken chain and subsidiary of Yum Brands, which also owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and The Habit Burger Grill. Kentucky Fried Chicken was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, who opened the first franchise in Utah in 1952, diversifying the then dominance of burger restaurants in the quick-service market.
Since then, Colonel Sanders has become an iconic mascot for the largest fried chicken chain in the United States, popular for its secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices coating the red and white buckets of “finger lickin’ good” chicken and side recipes like coleslaw.
In 1982, KFC was sold to PepsiCo, which introduced the company to China, where it remains one of the most popular restaurant chains in the market. In 1997, PepsiCo spun off its restaurants division, forming Tricon Global Restaurants, which was renamed to Yum Brands in 2002.
Over the years, KFC has made waves with viral menu innovations like the Double Down sandwich with two pieces of fried chicken as bread.
More recently, KFC introduced a new fried chicken sandwich to compete in the “fried chicken wars” of 2019 and 2020, and in November unveiled new prototype stores that emphasize convenience and technology.
Key Data: KFC
Headquarters: Louisville, Ky.
Segment: Quick Service
Restaurant Segment: LSR Chicken
Number of US locations: 3,959
2020 Sales: $4.70 billion
Source: Datassential Firefly 500
CEO: Tony Lowings
Parent: Yum Brands