I will admit upfront that I may have a somewhat skewed opinion on this, since my younger bro, Mike, is the president of Eastern Kentucky University. He really likes it there. (If any of EKU's Board of Trustees happens to be lurking here, he told me that he plans to stick around for awhile and has big plans for the place).
But back to the main point:
Colonel Sanders planted Kentucky Fried Chicken's first franchised flag in downtown Salt Lake City--thanks to a Utah-born Mormon who was the youngest of 14 kids. His name was Leon W. "Pete" Harman. Brother Harman has been dubbed in the annals of fried-chicken lore as "KFC's Secret Weapon."
Here's his background:
" . . . [A] simple handshake between two trusted friends led to the creation of one of the world's most successful food franchises--Kentucky Fried Chicken. On Aug. 4, 1952, Salt Lake City native Pete Harman and Colonel Harland Sanders partnered up when Harman agreed to sell Kentucky Fried Chicken in his restaurant, the "Do Drop Inn," at 3900 South State Street.
"But the story behind Harman, Sanders and the evolution of the KFC phenomenon goes much farther back.
"Today, Pete [who eventually died at age 95] and his wife Arline enjoy[ed] their retirement in northern California. Pete [eventually quit doing' interviews . . . , but staff members of his organization, which oversees operation of more than 325 KFC restaurants in four states, [were] anxious to share his story, as depicted in Robert Darden's 2002 biography of Harman titled 'Secret Recipe.'
"Harland David Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, was born in 1890, and he was neither from Kentucky nor in the military. What he was born with, as was Pete Harman, was the entrepreneurial spirit. He worked myriad occupations, from lawyer to hotelier to steamboat ferry operator, and after the depression owned a small service station near Corbin, Ky. In a little corner of that station, he set up tables for a tiny cafÈ. One of his menu items was fried chicken, the recipe he spent years trying to perfect.
"Thousands of miles away, Pete and Arline were operating their own restaurant, the 16-seat eatery on State Street. Pete was looking for a specialty dish that would set his place apart. In 1951, fate brought both men together.
"At the National Restaurant Association (NRA) convention in Chicago, Harland Sanders and his wife Claudia were appalled by the conduct of most of the conventioneers--drinking, smoking, partying--things Sanders hated. So it wasn't a surprise that they were drawn to a young Mormon couple from Granger, Utah--Pete and Arline Harman.
"Darden writes that 'despite their age differences, (the Colonel was 61 and Harman was 32), they . . . struck up an instant-and enduring-friendship.' Sanders later said that in his effort to quit cussing, a vice that plagued him most of his life, he planned on traveling to Australia the next summer for the International Church Conference of Christians. On his way, he stopped in Salt Lake City to visit his new Mormon friends, the Harmans, 'another obvious good influence,' Darden wrote. Sanders slipped into the Do Drop Inn just as Harman was fixing a light switch on a walk-in cooler. It was on Aug. 3, 1952.
"Harman took Sanders on a tour of the city that day--lunch at the Hotel Utah Roof Gardens, a walk through Temple Square and a trip to the Bingham Copper Mines. When he casually mentioned to Sanders that he was looking for a specialty dish for his restaurant, the Colonel took advantage. He offered to make the Harman's dinner that night, and after tracking down a pressure cooker and garnering some spices from a local store, Harland Sanders worked feverishly into the evening, finally finishing at 10 p.m.
"From the moment Pete and Arline first bit into the chicken Sanders had fried for them, they were hooked. The next day, even as Sanders left on a train for San Francisco for his flight to Australia, Pete Harman was buying pressure cookers and having his painter put a new sign on his restaurant that read "Kentucky Fried Chicken."
"Leon 'Pete' Harman shared a lot in common with Harland Sanders. Both had lost their fathers when they were youngsters, both lived in poverty to some degree, and both
were inspired by a family member to overcome and conquer.
"Harman was born and raised in Granger (now part of West Valley City), in a home at 3600 West and 4100 South. He credits his Aunt Carrie with instilling in him t'e values and work ethic that helped him become a success. In "Secret Recipe,' Harman says, 'In the lean years of the Great Depression, Aunt Carrie was everywhere, feeding the hungry, nursing the sick, raising money for the impoverished--all the while caring for the 14 children under her roof. There was always food to eat on the table, since we did have a farm. But as far as cash went, there was practically none. Poor? We weren't poor. We had food to eat.'
"By the time he was in 10th grade in Granger, Harman had decided that school wasn't for him, and he began working, eventually hitchhiking to San Francisco and taking his first 'real' job as a dishwasher at Foster's Lunch. He made a whopping $18.67 a week and worked his way up to night manager by the time he was 20. He learned about the food business, and it became a passion of his life. He also loved dancing at the old Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco, which is where he met his 'candy girl,' Arline Hampton. She lived with her aunt and worked in the Ferry Building on the bay. Three months after that first dance, on Jan. 19, 1938, they were married.
"The couple moved back to Utah in 1941, purchasing a small restaurant then called 'Earth's' at 3900 South State for $700. It was a dirty little hamburger and root beer stand with eight barstools, five booths, three pinball machines, a jukebox, a gravel drive-up and an outhouse. Pete and Arline cleaned the place up and opened for business on Labor Day 1941, calling their new eatery the 'Do Drop Inn,' the name (and spelling of which) was Arline's doing. Pete was the primary cook, Arline served as hostess and waitress along with another lady, and they were in business.
"But the revenues ebbed and flowed with the seasons, and as World War II began, challenges arose. Pete Harman never wavered, doing what it took to overcome meat rationing and a sagging national economy. By the end of their first year in business, the Harmans realized a gross profit of about $18,000 from the 'Do Drop Inn.' They were in business to stay.
"And that business grew. By 1946, the Harmans were involved with the NRA, which of course would lead to their meeting with Harland Sanders five years later in Chicago. Still, he was looking for that unique menu item that would push his business over the top.
"In mid-August 1952, when Harland Sanders returned from Australia, met Claudia in San Francisco and took the train again to Salt Lake City to see his friends Pete and Arline, guess what greeted him? The words 'Kentucky Fried Chicken' on Harman's restaurant. Sanders later wrote, 'More than any other event in our early struggle to launch the idea of "Kentucky Fried Chicken," Harman's acceptance of it and his enthusiasm in sharin' his experiences with other potential franchisees kept us going when we didn't have too much other success.'
"Harman opened a second KFC in Sugarhouse in 1953, one that featured the words 'Harman's Cafw.' He later created his own distribution company as well to supply his two restaurants, and others in the area. By the time Sanders officially franchised the concept in 1955, the pattern was set, thanks to Pete Harman's operations. A third 'Harman's Cafe" was opened on North Temple in Salt Lake City in 1957 and stood there until its demolition a few years ago.
"Perhaps as significant as his skills in the food business are Harman's people skills. From the first day he began his business, Pete Harman made his employees feel like partners by creating profit sharing and management training plans that still exist in the Harman Corporation today. He also bucked the business trend of the day by promoting women within his organization.
"Darden's book tells of a young woman named Jackie Trujillo of Logan who had planned on attending Utah State until she spent some time working for Harman. When it came time to enroll in college, Trujillo was much more impressed with the opportunity Harman gave her for advancement and promotion. She eventually became manager of the Sugarhouse location, and never left Harman's operations.
"When Harman formed his distribution company, Trujillo said that 'he came up to me one night at work and said he was going to sell stock in (the company). He offered me 500 shares for $500, and when I asked him where he thought I was going to get that kind of money, he loaned me the money to buy it.'
"'I had opportunities, so I've always wanted to share that with everyone else as well,' Harman wrote in 'Secret Recipe.' 'I want people to work to have ownership. Quality (Distribution) is still a private corporation owned by the employees.'
"'When you were a part of management at Harman's,' Trujillo said, 'you automatically were a team player. Just as Pete always said that he wanted to succeed for his Aunt Carrie, we all wanted to succeed for him."\'
"Harman's relationship with Sanders remained strong throughout the rest of the Colonel's life. It was Pete Harman who created the concept of the KFC bucket, a mainstay in the franchise for decades. He later helped develop the KFC bucket into successful fundraisers for non-profit organizations nationwide. Colonel Sanders rarely made a move, even after selling his company and staying on as an adviser and spokesperson, without consulting with his good buddy Pete Harman.
"The Harman empire expanded, even as Kentucky Fried Chicken began to dominate the fast food market. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas came up through the management ranks of KFC, and only McDonalds was larger in the fast food industry than Kentucky Fried Chicken. Like Colonel Sanders, Harman was hands-on, getting into the kitchen in every restaurant, working side-by-side with his team to make sure the product was prepared properly.
"When he turned 74 in 1964, Sanders sold the parent company starting with the first of a long-list of larger corporations and eventually ending with Pepsico, which owns and operates it today. Some of the moves weren't great ones. There were efforts to force franchisees out for a time, efforts to change the menu and the operations. Each time, with Pete Harman intimately involved on one board of directors or another, the corporate owners came to realize that to be successful, they needed to learn what Harman had always known--go back to Colonel Sanders' original plan of serving the best product and hiring and taking care of the best people.
"In 1980, at the age of 90, Harland Sanders' health finally began failing him for good. That summer, his birthday party in Louisville was one of the largest ever in the city, and the Colonel made an appearance, despite serious challenges with leukemia, diabetes, cataracts and arthritis. KFC stores nationwide raised money that weekend for the March of Dimes, his favorite charity, accumulating more than $625,000 in three days. He passed away on December 16, 1980.
"Almost instantly, and certainly not at his discretion, Pete Harman became the father figure for the company. Mike Miles, the man then running the corporation, called Harman 'KFC's secret weapon. It is no exaggeration to say that while there would be no KFC as we know it without the Colonel, there would also be no KFC as we know it without Pete Harman.'
"And John Y. Brown, who later became governor of Kentucky and who was the first CEO of the corporation when Colonel Sanders sold the company, said, 'If you really want to give credit for this, you give the credit to the old Colonel, because he really had the idea. But Pete Harman was the one who paved the way for all of us. He was the one who proved the concept. He was the best operator of the bunch. He came from the same school as the Colonel did--he liked getting back in the kitchen and being sure all that food was right.'
" . . . Pete Harman [ran] his operation the way he started it--putting people first, giving recognition and praise endlessly, even naming franchises after their owners. Within Harman Management and its restaurants are hundreds of entrepreneurs who've found the enjoyment and satisfaction of owning their own businesses and reaping the personal and financial rewards that come with it.
"'I hope that I'll be remembered as being fair,' he said in Darden's book, 'particularly in our own company. Arline and I have made a lot of money and we've put a lot of that money into some places that we believed needed it--children's hospitals, public television. Money is only good if you do good with it.'
"And as for his career in the fried chicken business, Harman remarked:
"'I've never been in the fried chicken business; I've been in the people business. We tie our success to people, not dollars.' Which is why KFC is still cookin' . . . years after two friends shook hands in a quiet Salt Lake City diner.
I must say that I admire Mormon Leon W. "Pete" Harman for giving women that chance to move into leaderships ranks in his corner of the KFC Kongdom, even though his good-ol-boys Mormon Cult still doesn't let females move into its ranks of priesthood leadership. (Oh well, The whole thing's chicken poop, anyway).
Meanwhile, here's more on the story of KFC-LDS-SLC chicken-fried glory, from KFC's official website:
"Leon W. 'Pete' Harmon, a native [of] Granger and a graduate of Cyprus High School in Magna, pioneered the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and helped build one of the world’s most prolific chicken brands.
"In 1941, Pete Harmon and his wife, Arlene, relocated from San Francisco back to Utah and opened their first restaurant, the 'Do Drop Inn,' with a total capital investment of $15. Located at 3890 South S. Street, the 'Do Drop Inn' sat only 15 people and was a small hamburger and root beer stand.
"However, the restaurant succeeded and every year Harmon would add to and expand both the menu and the restaurant’s building-- except for his two years in the Army when he served in the infantry during World War II. Eventually, he renamed the building 'Harmon’s Café' and had amassed a seating capacity of 240 people, plus car service.
"The biggest addition to the menu took place in 1952 with the addition of 'Kentucky fried chicken.'
"Colonel Harland Sanders had perfected his chicken recipe through the 1930s and 1940s and operated his own restaurant, the 'Sanders Court & Café,' in Corbin, Kentucky. When Interstate 75 bypassed Corbin, Colonel Sanders sold his restaurant and traveled the U.S. to sell his chicken recipe to other restaurant owners.
"The first to accept his offer was Pete Harman in Salt Lake City. With a handshake agreement, Pete Harman agreed to pay Colonel Sanders five cents for every chicken sold. For $3.50, customers received 14 pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, rolls and gravy.
"With the success of the handshake agreement, in 1952 Colonel Harland Sanders incorporated his company under the name Kentucky Fried Chicken.
"By the early 1960s, Kentucky Fried Chicken was sold in over 600 franchised outlets.
"The partnership between Harman and Sanders was very successful. Harman invented the famous 'to-go' paper bucket, developed training manuals and product guides for other franchisees, and capitalized on the 'Finger-lickin’ good' motto.
"The original and first Kentucky Fried Chicken (Harmon’s Café) at 3900 S. State in Salt Lake City was demolished in 2004 and rebuilt in the same location as a museum and an updated restaurant."
Indeed, KFC's own official timeline confirms this travesty:
"9/9/1890--Harland Sanders is born just outside Henryville, Indiana. . . .
"1930--In the midst of the depression, Harland Sanders opens his first restaurant in the small front room of a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. Sanders serves as station operator, chief cook and cashier and names the dining area “Sanders Court & Café.”
"1936--Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon makes Harland Sanders an honorary Kentucky Colonel in recognition of his contributions to the state's cuisine.
"1937--The Sanders Court & Café adds a motel and expands the restaurant to 142 seats. . . .
"1939--The Sanders Court & Café is first listed in Duncan Hines’ 'Adventures in Good Eating.' . . .
"1952--The Colonel begins actively franchising his chicken business by traveling from town to town and cooking batches of chicken for restaurant owners and employees. The Colonel awards Pete Harman of Salt Lake City with the first KFC franchise. A handshake agreement stipulates a payment of a nickel to Sanders for each chicken sold. . . .
"1957--Kentucky Fried Chicken first sold in buckets. . . .
"1960--The Colonel's hard work on the road begins to pay off and there are 190 KFC franchisees and 400 franchise units in the U.S. and Canada.
"1964--Kentucky Fried Chicken has more than 600 franchised outlets in the United States, Canada and the first overseas outlet, in England. Sanders sells his interest in the U.S. company for $2 million to a group of investors headed by John Y. Brown Jr., future governor of Kentucky. The Colonel remains a public spokesman for the company. . . .
"1966--The Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation goes public.
"1969--The Kentucky Fried Chicken Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
"1971--More than 3,500 franchised and company-owned restaurants are in worldwide operation when Heublein Inc. acquires KFC Corporation.
"1976--An independent survey ranks the Colonel as the world's second most recognizable celebrity.
"1977--Colonel Sanders speaks before a U.S. Congressional Committee on Aging.
"1979--KFC cooks up 2.7 billion pieces of chicken. There are approximately 6,000 KFC restaurants worldwide with sales of more than $2 billion.
"12/16/1980--Colonel Harland Sanders, who came to symbolize quality in the food industry, dies after being stricken with leukemia. Flags on all Kentucky state buildings fly at half-staff for four days. . . .
"2006--More than a billion of the Colonel's “finger lickin’ good” chicken dinners are served annually in more than 80 countries and territories around the world.
"2007--KFC proudly introduces a new recipe that keeps the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices and finger-lickin’ flavor, but contains Zero Grams of Trans Fat per serving thanks to new cooking oil.
"2008--The Colonel has a new look! KFC updates one of the most recognized, respected and beloved brand icons with a new logo. The new logo depicts Colonel Sanders with his signature string tie, but for the first time, replaces his classic white, double-breasted suit with a red apron. The apron symbolizes the home-style culinary heritage of the brand and reminds customers that KFC is always in the kitchen cooking delicious, high-quality, freshly prepared chicken by hand, just the way Colonel Sanders did 50 years ago.
"2009--KFC introduces Kentucky Grilled Chicken™ – a better-for-you option for health conscious consumers who love the flavor of KFC. Kentucky Grilled Chicken has less calories, fat and sodium than KFC’s Original Recipe® chicken, without sacrificing the great taste of KFC.
"2011--KFC opens eco-friendly restaurant in Indianapolis. Aaron Person named the brand’s first-ever Chief Chicken Officer. New Kentucky Grilled Chicken launched, featuring new, 20 percent larger white meat breast pieces. . .
Previously unpublished “food biography” from Colonel Sanders is discovered."
And, oh yes, that "Finger-lookin' good" motto.
I heard that Mormons in Salt Lake were so poor (after being commanded to first pay their tithing, then their fast offerings, buy their garments amd give everything that they have to the Mormon Cult--all before eating), that they would go into Kentucky Fried Chicken and lick other people's fingers.
**P.S.: Even if KFC is "lickin'-other-people's-fingers-good," a recent health article says it's really not good for you:
"Kentucky Fried Chicken is perhaps the only restaurant chain that will keep an employee who urinates in the food, as in the case of worker Casey Diedrich of Omaha, Nebraska. [ http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/neb-family-win-40k-urine-tainted-food-article-1.347452
] The toxic canola oil fumes provide yet another reason to avoid KFC altogether.
"KFC has long been known as an unhealthy place to eat, but most assume that its most unhealthy attribute is the frying. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. Frying in hydrogenated oils with trans fats is indeed a terrible practice, and the Center for 'Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)' [has tried] to sue KFC for making their customers' arteries 'extra crispy.' As common as this is though, KFC could not win our award based on this alone.
"Surprisingly, KFC releases their ingredients list online for all to see, because they really have no shame about what they put inside their foods. Do you think the top executives of KFC actually eat the foods that they produce? I am sure that the number is comparable to the number of doctors willing to take chemotherapy for their own cancer treatments. Here is the ingredients list for chicken bought at KFC:
"Seasoning (Salt, Monosodium Glutamate, Garlic Powder, Spice Extractives, Onion Powder), Soy Protein Concentrate, Rice Starch and Sodium Phosphates. Battered with: Water, Wheat Flour, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Salt, Dextrose, Monosodium Glutamate, Spice and Onion Powder. Predusted with: Wheat Flour, Wheat Gluten, Salt, Dried Egg Whites, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Monosodium Glutamate, Spice and Onion Powder. Breaded with: Wheat Flour, Salt, Soy Flour, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Monosodium Glutamate, Spice, Nonfat Dry Milk, Onion Powder, Dextrose, Extractives of Turmeric and Extractives of Annatto. Breading Set in Vegetable oil.
"While it is tempting to end this article here, and let this list speak for itself, it is nevertheless prudent for me to explain at least some of these ingredients. From what I can see, the only completely non-toxic ingredients are the onion powder, sodium bicarbonate, and the garlic powder. These are only 3 ingredients out of 29, which means KFC ingredients are only 10% natural, and about 90% chemically "enhanced". This does not take into consideration the chicken itself, which is full of antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones, in the very least. Please inform us if you see any other remotely healthy ingredients in the list. Would you like cancer, mental disorders, or cardiac arrest with that, Sir?
"Salt is the primary ingredient in their seasoning, which would be much less harmful if it were natural sea salt instead of chemically "refined", nutritionally deficient, dangerous table salt that we have written about before. Table salt is followed by the infamous excitotoxin, monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can (and does) cause migraine headaches, brain tumors, seizures, lowered IQ, sudden heart failure when combined with magnesium deficiency and physical exertion, and much more. In case you missed it, MSG is mentioned FOUR times in the list above. "Spice" and "extractives" are also mentioned multiple times, but since they remain relatively undefined by the F.D.A. (for the benefit of companies like KFC), these can be practically anything. These are mystery ingredients, in other words. (So much for full disclosure of the ingredients, and you can be certain that we will never get a full disclosure.) Perhaps we should offer a reward to anyone who provides us the details of KFC's mystery ingredients, and a bonus for which FDA-approved "flavor factory" where they were chemically engineered.
"If you download the ingredients list from KFC, you will see that the 'healthy' canola oil is used in many of their meals. Canola is a genetically engineered offspring of the poisonous rapeseed plant, destined to cause problems in future generations that we cannot even predict yet. Canola oil is an industrial oil used to lubricate heavy machinery, and to add a glossy finish to the pages of high-quality magazines. Canola oil use at KFC will eventually result in high incidences of lung cancer amongst workers, due to the toxic fumes emitted by heated canola oil. Canola deceptively tests to be a healthy oil before heating, whereby it then breaks down into multiple carcinogenic poisons lacking any nutritional value, and the fumes from it are toxic too.
"A recent controversy involves the new grilled KFC products that secretly contain beef, which is being used as part of a large marketing campaign by a competitor, El Pollo Loco. They also exposed that the "grilled" chicken at KFC is not even grilled, but is cooked in an oven on a grill rack to simulate the lines which are synonymous with grilling. We would not be surprised if KFC eventually just drew these grill lines upon their "grilled" chicken with a permanent marker, in order to cut costs. The petroleum-based ink would be less toxic than their current ingredients lists.
"The problems with KFC go beyond the fact that their food should be considered unfit for human consumption. Kentucky Fried Chicken is inherently a bad company. According to Kentucky Fried Cruelty, a consumer awareness group, one billion chickens are killed each year for the company. All are crammed into "excrement-filled sheds" where they never see daylight. Many suffer from broken legs and wings due to being too top-heavy, and videos have also shown the routine abuse of animals in which the workers will stomp on chickens, or place them into boiling water to remove the feathers whilst they are still conscious. When KFC realized that PETA demonstrations (12,000 since 2003) had become a serious public relations problem, they created the Animal Welfare Advisory Council, in order to pretend that they were acting upon the complaints. Many of those who have been in the council have resigned their positions in disgust.
"'[KFC] never had any meetings. They never asked any advice, and then they touted to the press that they had this animal welfare advisory committee. I felt like I was being used.'
(Adele Douglass, gormer member of the KFC Animal Welfare Advisory Council, speaking to the 'Chicago Tribune').
"Even the regular corporate media has not been particularly friendly to KFC in recent years. It was reported that while destroying the Amazon rain forests for its soy, KFC uses eco-friendly buckets. Okay, so perhaps that is not particularly redeeming.
"As a result of all of the above (and more), KFC . . . won our 'Worst Restaurant of the Year Award' for 2009. It would appear that second to pharmaceuticals, KFC chicken is the most detrimental foods that you can consume without dying immediately. Although, healthy young athletes have died immediately from MSG combined with a magnesium deficiency. Just look at the ingredients of their salad croutons and salad dressings if you do not believe they are an evil company that would willingly poison those who are seeking healthy alternatives."
So much for thwe Word of Wisdom's warning to eat meat sparingly--especially the KFC kind. :)
Edited 15 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2015 06:54PM by steve benson.