The Story of KFC
The origin of KFC all began with Colonel Sanders, the kind looking man in a white suit that we all recognize but may not know his inspiring story.
Colonel Sanders

Colonel Harland Sanders was the eldest son in a farming family whose life was suddenly turned upside down in his early childhood as his father, the family’s backbone and bread-winner, passed away at 29 years of age.

His mother had to suddenly look after the family’s income after the tragic incident, leaving the five-year- old Colonel with the responsibility to look after the house and his siblings which included cooking and feeding them. Since this young age, the Colonel’s childhood was spent around the kitchen, and it quickly became his joy and hobby ever since, giving him huge pride to nourish and feed his loved ones.

The Colonel’s childhood was rough. He could not get along with his step-father and at 13 decided to go out into the world alone. Still yet to complete his education, he had to take all kinds of odd jobs while moving around the neighborhood. However, with his inquiring mind and diligence, every opportunity presented gave him the chance to go a little step higher in his career path, something he relished. Eventually, by the age of 30, Colonel had begun a business of his own for the first time. And with mixed results that incorporated great successes and terrible failures, he continued to venture on with many other businesses over his professional life, one after another.
First Step in Food Business – A Dedication Turned Opportunity
The first big opportunity into the food business came to the Colonel at the age of 34. At the time, the Colonel had just miserably failed at his most recent business venture and had to go back being an employee once again as a tire salesperson. One unfortunate day, the Colonel had a car accident. He lost his car and was badly injured; but on top of all of that, the company determined that the Colonel would not be able to sell for them with all the injuries and without a car and decided to lay him off.
But just as soon as he was well enough to leave his bed, the Colonel hurried out to embark on a job hunt in his home town of Kentucky. Without his own car, Colonel had to hitch-hike. Call it a fate or pure chance, but the person who picked the Colonel up happened to be a general manager of an oil company in Kentucky. Seeing the Colonel’s hard-working nature as he pushed himself onto the road even though he was not fully recovered, the manager offered him a service station to run.

Even though Colonel Sanders had never run a service station before and all the locals who knew the previous owner were fairly bitter towards him, with his passion and dedication he put in ‘extra’ services and made his service station better than any others in the vicinity, and his station became very successful and well-known at that time.

Many years later, the Colonel’s service station went out of business due to the Great Depression; but with his past reputation and success, Shell Company decided they wanted him and would build him another service station to run in North Corbin where Colonel could live rent free. That service station was the first place Colonel Sanders opened his small kitchen for truck drivers to dine at his family’s dining table. His specialty menu, of course, was fried chicken, along with the traditional accompaniments of mashed potato and gravy. With him behind the pans, it was a success that he could expand into a full scale restaurant and eventually a motel.. He continued to develop his fried chicken recipe there until he reached his own level of perfection in 1939, taking over a decade of his time.
Beginning of the Franchise

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was officially founded in 1952 when Colonel Sanders franchised his chicken recipe for the first time to Pete Harman, his friend from a restaurant short course he took previously who was an owner of a restaurant in Utah. Mr. Harman was the one to coin the term ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ as a gimmick phrase and it was so popular, it eventually became the name of the franchise.

However, there were not many franchisees during this early year. Colonel Sanders still devoted his time to his motel and restaurant in North Corbin   This set-up held great pride for the Colonel. One time, he refused a $164,000 deal to buy the place, with no interest to discuss any higher price either (putting that into today’s perspective, it would be around $1.45 million).
Stumble and Falter, but Never Give Up
Everything turned upside down again a short while after when a new city bypass interstate highway was built in 1956 and took travelers, his main customers, away. His business suddenly went south. The Colonel struggled for a while and eventually had to sell his establishment at the low price of only $75,000. After taking care of all of his investment debt, Colonel Sanders, who was 65 years old at this stage, was left with nothing but his monthly small Social Security payment.

Instead of getting discouraged and retiring like other folks his age might do, Colonel Sanders still lived his life full of passion like he always did and turned his focus to franchising his proud chicken recipe that he had complete confidence in. The Colonel spared part of his little monthly payments for fuel and other travelling expenses, and saved a bit more for a pressure cooker. Armed with that and huge confidence in his recipe, the Colonel traveled across America to sell his fried chicken franchise, while sleeping in the back of his own car to save the hotel expense.
Passion and Dedication was the Key to Success
During the time that the Colonel traveled the country, legend has it that he was refused as many as 1,009 times. The fact that cannot be ignored was that Colonel Sanders was refused so many times his confidence should have been obliterated – even Pete Harman, the first franchisee, had once refused him before – but his steel confidence in the recipe he worked so hard on until ‘perfection’ never wavered, and his passion for life drove his will to continue going forward with zeal.

Within a decade after he successfully sold his franchise the first time, and KFC expanded its franchise abroad.

In the end, Colonel Sanders was successful in the later days of life, following so many ups - and a lot more downs - throughout his time.
Almost thirty years later, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) reached Thailand in 1984 with its first branch at Central Ladprao. Today, KFC has expanded its reaches to 560* branches throughout the country and is the number one quick service restaurant brand in the country.
(*as of June 2016)
The first branch of KFC in Thailand at Central Ladprao.