Colonel Sanders Wiki, Origin, Career, Learnings & More

Colonel Harland David Sanders (1890–1980)

Colonel Sanders as he was commonly known was an American businessman and the founder of ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ Corporation. Sanders remains the official face of KFC and appears on its logo till date. In 1976, Sanders was ranked as the world’s second most recognizable celebrity.


Sanders was born on 9th Sept 1890 in a farmer’s family at Henryville, Indiana, United States. He was the oldest of his 3 siblings. Due to the death of his father in 1895, Sanders mother started to work and young Sanders who was just five had to look after his siblings when his mother was at work. By the age of seven, he also managed to cook food.


Sanders began his career at nearly half the age that we do today. At the age of ten, he started working as a farmhand at a local farm. By the time he was twelve his mother remarried and they moved to Greenwood, Indiana. Sanders had a very stormy relationship with his Stepfather and soon when he was thirteen he finally dropped out of seventh grade and left his home and took a job of Horse Carriage painting in Indianapolis. From then he switched his careers from being a Steam Engine Stoker (fireman) in 1907 to an insurance salesman in 1916 and even Filling Station Operator. In 1920, he even established a ferry boat company and this was an instant success. But later he sold it to invest money in an acetylene lamp manufacturing company. In 1924, he met the General Manager of Standard Oil of Kentucky and started a Service Station in Nicholasville. In 1930, the Station closed due to Great Depression. Nearly for four years, Sanders served chicken dishes and other meals from his own dining room table.

The Turning point

Sanders’s whole life was with twist and turns. Right from his unstable careers to a perfect decision of franchising his Secret Recipe that changed his life. This was the year 1939, sanders had acquired a motel in North Carolina and everything was going well until one day an enormous fire broke out in the motel turning Sanders dream into ash. But this did not break Sanders. He rebuilds his motel but this time with 140- seat restaurant. Sanders was a man who always dreamed big. Living his dream sanders kept experimenting with his secret recipe. And finally, by July 1940, he successfully nailed down his Secret Recipe with the mixture of 11 herbs and spices. As it is said that it’s not in our hand every time, unfortunately, Sanders had to close down his motel as tourist dried up in America due to the entry of USA in World War II.
Then in 1952, Sanders finally franchised his Secret Recipe ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ for the first time to a city’s largest restaurant. This tripled the restaurant’s profit and soon several other restaurant owners came to franchise the concept. Sanders nearly traveled the whole USA looking for suitable restaurants for the franchise and also got so many rejections. He often had to spend his night sleeping in his own car and again resume the search next morning. This franchise approach became highly successful and soon KFC became one of the first American fast food chains to expand internationally.

After Success

Harland Sanders was recommissioned as a Colonel in 1950 (first in 1935) and this time he began to dress the part, growing a goatee and wearing a White Suite and a string tie. In 1962, Sanders patented his method of pressure frying chicken and even trademarked the phrase “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good ” in 1963. Finally, in 1964, 73 years old Sanders sold KFC Corporation for $ 2 million and became a salaried brand ambassador. He remained the company symbol even after selling it and traveled 2,00,000 miles a year on company’s behalf, filming TV commercials and appearances.


Sanders died of pneumonia on December 16, 1980, at the age of 90. By that time there were an estimated 6000 KFC outlets with $ 2 billion sales annually. ‘Claudia Sanders Dinner House’ opened by Sanders and his wife Claudia in Kentucky, USA is the only Non-KFC restaurant that serves “Original Recipe” fried chicken till date.


• Every happening in life has its importance. Who knew just taking care of his siblings and preparing food for them sometimes would make Sanders invent one of the world’s best recipe. If we have to say in his words then “ It’s finger lickin’ good “.
• Failing every time doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Everyone has their own path with different destinations. It’s just that some reach early and for some, it takes a while. Sanders started KFC when he was 65yrs old that’s the time when everyone is nearly enjoying their retirement.
• Sanders was rejected by so many peoples when he took his recipe to different restaurants for the franchise but this did not stop him from being the America’s second most popular fast food chain.
• Sanders life teaches us that there is no other reward other than success for Hard work and courage. Courage to stand up each time you fail and keep going. Sanders had already lost four jobs by the age of seventeen but this did not stop him. He was a failure at almost all his business venture but that did not stop him from thinking of a new one. He lived his dream, you can also make it happen.

“ I made a resolve then that, I was going to amount to something if I could. And then no hours, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know”.

– Colonel Harland Sanders

So this was about Colonel Harland Sanders hope you might this Informative, thank you! for visiting, also check out other biographies as well: GoBiography.




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