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food-at-kfc-headquarters.gif Nancy Luna

Reporter’s Notebook: A whirlwind KFC immersion trip

Getting to the know the Colonel was spooky and splendid

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In late August, I visited KFC’s headquarters in Louisville, Ky. for a brand immersion trip.

During the whirlwind day, I learned that the first official Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant opened in Utah, not Kentucky, in 1952. Iconic founder Colonel Sanders sometimes wore a black suit but ditched it once the savvy marketer realized the now legendary white suit gave him a showman quality. Sanders came up with the idea to use pressure cookers, but the bucket credit goes to KFC’s first franchisee, Pete Harman.

nancy-luna-at-kfc-headquarters.gifThe most important thing I learned is that KFC is not afraid to admit to mistakes. That’s what led to the 2015 “re-colonelization” effort, where the brand returned to the Colonel’s values and rigorous process for making his 11 herbs and spices fried chicken — a secret recipe that head chef Bob Das doesn’t even know.

Das gave a select group of press a sneak peek taste of a few under wraps menu items that should blow away fans, including French fries and the chain’s new plant-based chicken. I was lucky to try Beyond Fried Chicken. A few days after my trip, the product sold out in less than five hours during a one-day test in Atlanta.

For now, that’s all I can reveal. But rest assured, there’s a lot of more innovation coming from KFC. Stay tuned.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @fastfoodmaven

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