Fifty years later: The tale of the KFC business deal

In 1964, former Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. and a group of investors paid $2 million to Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Col. Harland Sanders for his legendary chicken business and his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.

Today, KFC, owned by Louisville-based Yum Brands, serves more than 12 million customers each day in more than 115 countries and territories around the world. KFC operates more than 17,000 restaurants in the United States and internationally.

Recently, Brown and others reminisced about how Brown and the Colonel got to know each other 50 years ago – “The Colonel was the real deal, as authentic as they come,” Brown said – and how the fried chicken business grew into a worldwide phenomenon.

Sanders had a sixth-grade education and was close to retirement age when he put on a white suit, called himself “colonel” and drove around the country in his 10-year-old Cadillac, selling his fried-chicken recipe.

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