This Is What Forced KFC To Start Franchising

Thanks to years of commercials, you probably associate the phrase "It's finger lickin' good" with KFC. With over 25,000 locations in 145 countries according to their corporate website, you're likely to find fried chicken seasoned with the chain's 11 herbs and spices no matter where you are in the world.

It's probably difficult to imagine this international fast food chain not existing. You'll find KFCs off the freeway, at malls, in shopping centers, and even within airports. Can you imagine no fried chicken buckets or mashed potatoes and gravy? You can chalk this prevalence up to a decision made by Colonel Sanders himself in 1952, which has helped propel KFC into having restaurants all over the world.

The decision came about when Colonel Sanders found himself in a bit of deep oil, so to speak. His café had plenty of people stopping in because it was off a well-trafficked road, but a new interstate was going to change everything, per Mental Floss. Without Route 25 providing free advertisement for his roadside café, Sanders knew he had to get creative to keep his restaurant afloat. In fact, according to Uproxx, the Colonel had to close his doors because he lost too many customers. That's when he got the idea that would make KFC known throughout the world.

Colonel Sanders launched franchising

Fate would have it that Colonel Sanders would meet a man named Pete Harman in 1952. Harman owned a hamburger joint in Salt Lake City, Utah, per Company Histories. That same year, Harman would open the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, according to Mental Floss. This was a pivotal moment for the fried chicken chain.

Sanders knew he was onto something when he saw how successful his partnership with Harman was. He started spending more time on the road, talking to more restaurant owners about selling his fried chicken recipe and adding it to their menus. By 1964 — just a little over a decade after that first franchise — his recipe was being served up in over 600 different restaurants in Canada and the United States, per Uproxx.

That same year, the Colonel decided to sell his business for a huge sum of 2 million dollars in addition to a yearly salary of $40,000 to continue on as the restaurant's "goodwill ambassador," in part because managing the business was not his strength, per The New York Post. Thanks to franchising, Sanders created the business model that would keep KFC locations cropping up throughout the United States and eventually globally. So if you're a fan of KFC, you can be happy that the misfortune of road construction costing him to shut his restaurant doors meant there were bigger and better things in store for this ubiquitous chain.