14 Mar: Finger Lickin’ Lawsuit

Colonel Harland Sanders’ image continues to grace the logo of KFC, who continue to sell the chicken inspired by his ‘11 secret herbs and spices’. But on 14th March, 1978 the Colonel and the chain’s owners were at legal loggerheads over his constant criticism of their food.

As KFC franchises were rolled out worldwide, Sanders was highly critical of the innovations made to his recipe – describing the new batter as “a damn fried doughball stuck on some chicken” – and the iteration of his gravy as “God-damned slop”.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal the Colonel’s surprising devotion to swearing; explain how his devotion to quality made him the ‘Heston Blumenthal of fried chicken’; and revisit the debacle of ‘Kentucky Roast Beef’… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken of Bowling Green, Inc. v. Sanders’ (Supreme Court of Kentucky, 1978):


• ‘8 Things You May Not Know About the Real Colonel Sanders’ (HISTORY, 2019): https://www.history.com/news/8-facts-real-colonel-sanders-kfc

• ‘Colonel Sanders: Integrity in What You Do’ (KFC promotional video, 1970s):

Enjoy this episode? There’s even more finger-lickin’ content in the boneless bucket that is our weekly bonus episode, available exclusively to our supporters on Patreon and subscribers on Apple Podcasts. In this week’s installment, we explain what happened when KFC tried to sue Colonel Sanders a second time – when he established ‘The Colonel’s Ladies Dinner House Restaurant’ (still open to this day as Claudia Sanders’ Dinner House’) in Shelbyville, Kentucky….

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