For many, Colonel Sanders is just the face of KFC. That old, smiling guy is the first face they see when they enter their favorite fast food chain.
But Colonel Sanders' contribution to KFC goes beyond superficial. In fact, he invented the famous Original Recipe Chicken that caught the hearts and appetites of millions of KFC fans around the globe.
As a tribute to the man behind KFC's 11 secret herbs and spices, here are some of the things you probably didn't know about Colonel Sanders:
1. KFC isn't his first baby
In 1930, Sanders opened his first restaurant at a gas station. Although fried chicken was not on the menu, his country ham and steak dinners became so popular.
He soon opened Sanders’ Café across the street, serving chicken that was fried in an iron skillet. At that time, he had no idea that he would create a recipe that will serve as comfort food to millions of people.
2. He was 50 when he created the secret recipe
Sanders was already approaching retirement when he perfected a chicken recipe that would eventually become a certified world-favorite. To make some retirement money, he drove from town to town convincing restaurants to franchise his recipe.
Until this very day, the “finger-lickin’ good” recipe remains a huge secret that only a few trusted people know. Some try to imitate this recipe, but of course, nothing beats the original.
3. He had many jobs
Before he started pursuing his entrepreneurial dream, Sanders's resume was filled with different job titles. He dropped out of school in the sixth grade and joined the workforce.
When he was younger, Sanders had stints as a farm worker and a streetcar conductor. He eventually joined railroad companies across the US south.
Sanders also studied law by correspondence and practiced in justice-of-the-peace courts in Arkansas. According to reports, he also delivered babies when "husbands couldn’t afford a doctor when their wives were pregnant."
4. He was 75 when he became a millionaire
Sanders' hard work and patience paid off, albeit a bit late in life. He was already 75 when he became a millionaire. He sold KFC in 1964, and in 1971 food conglomerate Heublein purchased the company. Although he was already retired when his dreams began to actualize, Sanders was contented with his accomplishments and his legacy.
Despite this huge success, Sanders didn't forget to give back. He reportedly gave most of his wealth to organizations like the Salvation Army.
5. He is not a real colonel
Although the word colonel has always been attached to Sanders' name, he is not a real colonel.
He joined the military in 1906 and served in Cuba for several months before his honorable discharge. In 1935, Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon issued a ceremonial decree that commissioned Sanders as an honorary colonel.
He later on embraced the title and tried to look the part by growing facial hair and donning a black frock coat and string tie. He eventually became known as Colonel Sanders, the face of KFC.
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