KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) is the world’s largest chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States. An “American icon”, it is the second largest restaurant chain after McDonald’s, with over 17,000 outlets in 105 countries and territories (December 2011). It was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression.
Colonel Sanders was an early pioneer of the restaurant franchising concept, with the first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” franchise opening in Utah in the early 1950s. Its rapid expansion saw it grow too large for Sanders to manage, and he eventually sold the company to a group of investors. Despite this, his image was still used as branding, and he worked as a goodwill ambassador for the company until shortly before his death. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, KFC had mixed success at home as it went through a series of corporate owners who had little or no experience in the restaurant business, although it continued to expand in overseas markets. In the early 1970s, KFC was sold to the spirits firm Heublein, who were taken over by the R.J. Reynolds conglomerate, who sold the chain to PepsiCo. PepsiCo spun off its restaurants division (also including Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), as Tricon Global Restaurants, which later changed its name to Yum! Brands.
Info gleaned from Wikipedia