Yum! Brands – the parent of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut – will report quarterly results this afternoon.Investors, analysts, and economist will follow the release very closely to see what they have to say about…China.
KFC operates more than 17,000 stores worldwide. 3,700 of them are in the world’s second biggest economy.
Indeed, the KFC story is extraordinary.
In 1930, Sanders opened his first restaurant, Sanders Court & Cafe, attached to a gas station. Over that decade Sander expanded and grew the business, before the original location was destroyed in a fire in 1939. Sanders rebuilds the restaurant and begins to franchise his recipe to other stores in 1952.
Sanders, not satisfied with a 30 minute cook time, decided to tweak a new invention on the market: the pressure cooker. Sanders was able to cut that time down, and the company continues to pressure fry its chicken today.
In 1957 Pete Harman, the owner of the first KFC franchised store, purchased the buckets from another owner who had bought them off of a travelling salesman and was unsure what to do with them. Harman said sales took off after advertising the meal, which had 14 pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy for $3.50.
Source: Cengage Learning
In 1962, Dave Thomas was offered the opportunity to save a few KFC franchises in Columbus, Ohio. If he successfully turned them around, he would be rewarded with 45 per cent of the profits from the locations.
Thomas turned them around, by consolidating the menu and installing a sign that included a large revolving KFC bucket. With ownership stake acquired, Thomas sold back his shares to Sanders for a total of $1.5 million, with which he opened up his first Wendy's location in Columbus in 1969.
Source: Mental Floss
In 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken officially changed its name to KFC. The reason has nothing to do with the myth of the chicken not being actual chicken, but rather had to do with saving money.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky trademarked their name in 1990, which meant that anyone using the word 'Kentucky' for business reasons would have to pay licensing fees to the state. Rather than pay the fees, the company opted to change its name simply to KFC.
Source: American Antiquities
KFC currently has more than 17,400 locations globally, Up from just one franchise in Salt Lake City in 1952. At that pace, the company has doubled its footprint every 3.93 years. It seems unlikely, but at that rapid clip, it would surpass 30,000 locations at the start of 2015.
This year, KFC plans to enter seven new countries in Africa and expects to generate $2 billion in sales from 1,200 KFCs across the continent in the next two years.
Source: Company Filings, Bloomberg
In the U.S., KFC customers eat 800 million biscuits, 100 million pounds of coleslaw, and 200 million pounds of mashed potatoes each year. And the company estimates it sells 1.8 billion pieces of chicken each year.
With such a large global footprint, KFC has modified its menu for local tastes and traditions. We've rounded up some of the oddest choices.
China is the company's real bread-and butter. While it operates the fewest stores in China compared to its two other divisions (International, which was recently split to breakout India, and U.S.), it generates the greatest sales and net income for Yum Brands.
As of year end 2011, KFC had 3,701 restaurants in China.
Source: Company Filings
After opening that first Chinese fast food shop in 1987 -- the very first fast food restaurant to enter China -- it has gone on to invest in local brands like Little Sheep.
This year, the company said it would take over the Little Sheep brand, one of the first successful takeovers of a Chinese brand.