Most of us are familiar with KFC and its founder, but this is one colonel Sanders story that you may not have heard of before. It’s peculiar because of what he actually did.
Would you rubbish or talk crap about an invention that you made? It’s unlikely, but it does happen. In most cases the criticism of someone’s own creation comes about because of a change in ownership (eg. they sold it), or a significant change of the item that they didn’t make. One notable example could be seen on YouTube. The co-founder and owner of the first video ever uploaded, Jawad Karim, had openly criticized the new owner, Google, for forcing people to have a Google plus account to comment. He said in the video description, “I cant comment here since i don’t want a Google+ account.” But this criticism is fairly constrained and doesn’t come anywhere close to colonel Sanders story of KFC fame. In fact, colonel Sanders was paid $1 million to keep his mouth shut and stop talking crap about KFC.
Growing up I always thought colonel Sanders was a fictional character created for marketing purposes. It turns out that he was indeed real, although some aspects about him were embellished and changed for marketing purposes. For example he originally wore a black suit and not a white one, and wasn’t a fan of fast food.
In 1975 colonel Sanders sold his business, Kentucky Fried Chicken to a food and alcohol conglomerate. They requested that he stay on as a good will ambassador. For his trouble he donned the famous white suit and was paid $75,000 a year. However, his goodwill turned to bitterness when the quality of the chicken slipped. You must remember, it was his name that was associated with the food giant.
A fan of the traditional restaurants and diners, colonel Sanders hated the fast food culture. This combination of a dislike of fast food and the slipping quality of KFC chicken eventually lead to him deciding to sever his ties with KFC and open a chicken restaurant of his own. He did this mainly because he didn’t think anyone could get a decent mean anymore.
Opening a fried chicken restaurant in direct competition with the might of KFC would have been difficult, even for colonel Sanders. But he had one thing going for him, reputation. This is what he used. Colonel Sanders began a verbal assault on his old business, Kentucky Fried Chicken, while planning to open franchises of his own restaurant. The attack on the fast food chain eventually culminated with with them taking the colonel to court, claiming that they had exclusive rights to his name! That’s true, that really was their argument. Before any judgement could be handed down the case was settled out of court for a reported $1 million hush money. The colonel then kept his mouth closed continued as a goodwill ambassador for KFC. He was also allowed to keep his own restaurant.
I bet that’s a colonel Sanders story that you were never told.