The Incredible Story Of How KFC Took Over China -- And The World

kfc china

Photo: thaths on flickr

If you’re an American diner abroad and you get a craving for the succulent taste that comes from a chicken fried in a “secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices,” you are most likely in luck.KFC is showing up everywhere, in many more countries than McDonald’s.

Yum! Brands, with its flagship KFC, has gradually overtaken McDonald’s as the world’s most dominant restaurant company. Yum! operates nearly 38,000 restaurants compared to its rival’s 32,478.

In the critical Chinese market, KFC outnumbers McDonald’s by 3,200 to 1,100.

1940 - Colonel Harland Sanders starts using a pressure fryer to increase his profits by frying chicken faster and serving more of it.

1964 - Sanders sells his now 600-strong chain of restaurants for $2 million, equivalent to $14.7 million today

Also in 1964 - The first KFC outside the US and Canada opens in England.

1966 - Kentucky Fried Chicken becomes a public company and is first listed on the NYSE as YUM

1970 - There are now almost 3,400 KFC outlets worldwide.

1986 - PepsiCo acquires KFC, merging it with Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, granting KFC access to new markets through franchise partnerships.

1987 - The first KFC opens in China, establishing a beachhead in the world's fastest growing consumer market.

2005 - KFC outpaces McDonald's in China with revenues reaching $1 billion

Today - KFC operates 5,200 restaurants in the U.S...

... and more than 10,200 Internationally...

...86 of those are in India, the World's most populous market where they are hacking away at McDonald's historically strong market share and plan to open 500 more by 2015...

... and China alone now supports more than 3,200 KFC stores in roughly 650 cities.

KFC's revenues today exceed $11 billion with profit streams coming from more than 15,000 stores in 109 countries.

But the competition is growing fast...

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