The Barebones Way Colonel Sanders First Served His Food

Running a business, however popular it may be, is full of hardships. Aside from the constant endeavors to make a profit, there are the frequent demands of long hours, complaining customers, and complicated bills. Setting up one's own company, therefore, requires a personality filled with determination and resourcefulness.

This type of character is very well represented by the founder of KFC, Colonel Harland Sanders. During his early life, Colonel Sanders was responsible for feeding his family, which included foraging for wild food and working on a farm, according to The New Yorker. He then embarked on a variety of career paths in his adulthood, including serving in the army, working as a fireman, and studying law. Sanders' challenging upbringing and multifaceted professional life, evidently, prepared him to start his own company. KFC wasn't immediately born as the fast food chicken giant it is today, however. Colonel Sanders' culinary career began a little more humbly, when he started selling food to passing drivers off an old dining room table (via History).

Colonel Sanders' first "restaurant" was actually a gas station

Before dominating the globe with over 25,000 restaurants in more than 145 countries, per its website, KFC had to rely on a far simpler operation. According to History, Colonel Sanders operated his first food business from a gas station he owned in Corbin, Kentucky, in 1930. He set up an old family dining table in front, where he sold meals to service station customers and road trippers. People came to enjoy his roadside food so much that the Colonel was able to open Sanders' Café soon after. 

But Sanders wasn't selling fried chicken from the start. At the service station and for the first few years of Sanders' Café's operation, the Colonel actually served country ham and steak dinners. Finally, in 1939, Sanders perfected the 11 herbs and spices secret recipe for his famous pressure cooker fried chicken that gave him his legendary reputation (and eventually made KFC more than a few dollars). Of course, it's possible that none of this would have happened without that old dining table.