September 2019 HTSAAIL of the Month - Colonel Sanders




As Popeye’s and Chik-Fil-A are feuding this month on who has the better fried chicken sandwich, we want to focus on another famous franchise that has stayed out of this fight.


We all know that Colonel Sanders started KFC at the age of 65 but did you know that for the first 40 years of his life he held numerous occupations that ranged from a streetcar conductor to an insurance salesman?


In those span of years, Harland (Colonel Sander’s first name) was running a service station in Nicholasville, Kentucky but unfortunately had to close it down due to the Great Depression.


In that same year of 1930, the Shell Oil company asked Harland to run a service station rent free as long as he provided them with a percentage of profits.


As he was running this service station, Harland began serving family style meals in his living quarters with his own fried chicken recipe. Word began spreading about his unique seasoning and his service station become a must stop for travelers going to Cumberland Falls or the Great Smokies. In 1935, the governor of Kentucky commissioned Harland Sanders as colonel and the name Colonel Sanders stuck.


In 1939, his original service station and restaurant (that he added on as popularity grew) burned to the ground as he was opening up a 2nd motel and restaurant location in North Carolina.

He rebuilt the Kentucky location as a motel with a 140 seat restaurant. By December 1941, the Colonel was forced to shut down his North Carolina motel due to rationing of supplies during WWII.


He sold his other motel and restaurant at cost with just enough to cover his debts. At the age of 65 Colonel Sanders was back to broke. The only thing that Colonel Sanders had was his famous fried chicken recipe.


At the age of 65, the Colonel hit the road and went to pitch his recipe to restaurants to license across the United States. How long did it take for the Colonel to close his first deal? 1? 10?  


Let’s try 1,009 times before Colonel Sanders was able to successful license his recipe. His deal was to receive a $0.05 royalty for each piece of chicken sold.


By the time Colonel Sanders was 73 he was able to sell his share of KFC for $2 million.



Throughout the Colonel’s life, he experienced many successes and even more failures. At the age of 65, when most retire, Colonel Sanders was going through his biggest failure. Instead of giving up Sander went on to be rejected 1,000 more times before he was able to successfully license his recipe.