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Harland Sanders – the Man behind KFC

August 27, 2009

Whether we realize it or not, at some point in our life we feel like doing “what we love” or “what we are born to do”. Some people realize their fervor early in their life and live for that. Some people don’t realize it because they are conditioned to live in a particular way or pursue a particular career by their parents or society (which most of us are!). But at some point, sooner or later, the realization dawns on everyone. And such is the case of the founder of KFC.
kfc bucket of chicken
When we talk about KFC what strikes our mind first? Of course, the mouth-watering fried chicken! How yummy it is! But did we ever once think about how this whole concept of food chain specializing in chicken began? Most probably not.  So to know about the man behind the KFC we need to know about the man on KFC. Yes, the man on the logo of KFC brand, Colonel Harland Sanders. He is the man behind the initiation of KFC i.e. Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Sanders was born to a Presbyterian family in Henryville, Indiana. His father, Wilbur David Sanders, died when Harland was five years old, and since then his mother used to work to take care of their family. As his mother used to be out for work most of the time, Harland was required to cook for his family. He was dropped out of school in the seventh grade. When his mother remarried, he ran away from his home because of a violent stepfather. During his early years, Sanders took up many jobs as a steamboat pilot, insurance salesman, railroad fireman, and farmer. Finally at the age of 16 (by lying about his age), he got enlisted in the Army as a private, spending his entire service commitment in Cuba.

It was at the age of 40 that Sanders started cooking chicken dishes and other meals for people who used to stop at his service station at Corbin, Kentucky. It is from here that people started relishing his delicacies and  he realized his passion for cooking. He started of with serving his food at his quarters where he used to stay but later on when his local popularity grew, he started a motel and restaurant that seated 142 people and worked as the chef. Here onwards he never looked back. His only aim was to delight people with more interesting delicacies for which he experimented with various cooking methods. Hence, within in nine years, he developed his method of cooking chicken. Furthermore, he made use of a pressure fryer that allowed the chicken to be cooked much faster than by pan frying. Sanders allegedly had 1,009 rejections when he tried to establish his franchise, until he co-founded the now international restaurant chain KFC.

This shows that there is no age to realize our strength or our fervor. It’s never too early or too late!

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