The legendary KFC CEO who made KFC the world’s largest fried chicken restaurant dies

On November 22, 2022, the legendary KFC CEO John Y. Brown Jr. (hereinafter referred to as Brown) passed away at the age of 88.

He is a native of Kentucky, and served as the 55th governor of Kentucky from 1979 to 1983. He is also the owner of a famous NBA team and a world-renowned American entrepreneur. Harvard Business School once named Brown one of the top American business leaders of the 20th century, on a par with Disney founder Walt Disney and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Of course, his most well-known identity is that he was the CEO of KFC.

▲ Picture from: Getty image

KFC has grown from an obscure country fried chicken shop to a fast food chain giant that is now popular all over the world. Brown has the greatest credit.

His daughter Pamela Brown tweeted:

My father, Brown, spent his life chasing the impossible and did it right to the end.

Make KFC the world's largest fried chicken chain

When you mention the past of KFC, you may think of the old man with the white beard.

The story has to start with this "old man" – he is Colonel Harland Sanders (hereinafter referred to as Sanders), the founder of KFC.

In the 1930s, when Sanders was almost 40 years old, he came to Corbin, Kentucky to run a gas station, and sold his own unique recipe of fried chicken. Unexpectedly, the fried chicken was very popular, and the customers praised it. People come to eat this delicacy which is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Even in the Great Depression of the 1930s, Sandoz's business was still booming. In 1950, Sandoz began to operate under license in the United States, and KFC franchise stores began to increase, reaching 600 in the United States in 1963.

At this time, Sandoz is 73 years old, and it is time for KFC to start the next generation business.

At this time, Brown appeared.

▲ Brown and Sanders

Brown was a 29-year-old lawyer in 1964, but his business acumen was revealed in college, when he made a fortune selling the Encyclopedia Britannica and was one of Britannica's top salesmen .

He has always been deeply moved by Sandoz's career, so he called an investment group composed of 60-year-old capitalist Jack Messer and others, and finally bought KFC at a price of 2 million US dollars, which was a very high price back then. .

But at that time, people who wanted to take over KFC flocked in, and there were bids of $5 million, and Brown won the favor of Sanders because he won the trust and respect of Sanders.

At the end of the contract, Brown promised that KFC will always maintain the quality, and added an agreement :

Colonel Sanders was hired by the new KFC company with a high salary for life, and he was the company's permanent consultant and brand spokesperson.

Brown believes the fast food industry is the future of the restaurant industry.

After he became the CEO of KFC in 1965, he increased the number of franchisees from 600 to 3,500 while keeping the KFC brand and products unchanged, promoting KFC to the world.

At that time, Brown did not have much advertising budget after taking over. In order to promote KFC, Brown spent a lot of time in the first year to get Sanders on TV.

He started appearing on various popular TV shows to promote KFC, Brown said:

Every time we have Sanders on TV, franchise sales go up 10% or more.

KFC entered a period of rapid development and began to go global.

Create a precedent for fried chicken takeaway and create a "Silicon Valley" in the restaurant industry

At that time, the careful Brown noticed that the data of many restaurants showed that 30%-40% of their sales came from chicken, so he came up with a new concept-only selling chicken and selling it as takeaway.

While there were already other restaurants offering takeout at the time, none of the restaurants offered only one type of fried chicken delivery.

Brown quickly rewrote the franchising agreement, turning the original 600 restaurants into KFC-only restaurants, and overhauling other elements that shaped and strengthened KFC's brand image.

Including the buckets you can still see now, the red and white color scheme, and the very brainwashing slogan:

Finger-lickin' good

A brand-new fried chicken fast food brand has begun to take root in the hearts of the people. Its convenience, deliciousness and trendy features make fried chicken gradually become a daily food in people's families and an indispensable part of life.

By 1967, KFC had become the sixth largest restaurant chain in the United States by sales.

His impact on the Kentucky catering industry pattern and future catering brands is also far-reaching.

Because of KFC's success, many restaurant companies are headquartered in Kentucky, including Louisville-based Yum! Brands, which is now KFC's parent company.

Chi-Chi's and Rally's were both founded in Kentucky by former KFC executives under Brown, and while the chains are no longer headquartered in the state, both have their roots here.

Long John Silver's CEO and former KFC executive John Cranor once called KFC the "Silicon Valley" of the food industry.

The "fried chicken craze" brought about by KFC has also begun to gain both word-of-mouth and cultural exports in other countries.

In 1969, KFC was successfully listed.

Following KFC's worldwide success, Brown sold his stake in the company in 1971 for a huge profit of $284 million.

Later, in 1978, Brown joined the Boston Celtics in the NBA through equity replacement with his business partners. In 1979, he also made full use of TV advertisements to win votes and was successfully elected as the governor of Kentucky.

During his tenure as governor, he brought record business activity to Kentucky and reduced the state's budget by more than 20%.

During his career in politics, he also founded and invested in several companies and other restaurant businesses such as Lum's, Ollie's Trolley, Buckhead Mountain Grill, Roadhouse Grill, Kenny Rogers Roasters, H. Salt Fish & Chips, and several steakhouses, among others.

Although there is no brand that can be compared with the success of KFC, and the governor's period coincides with the recession in the United States, Brown only served one term, but he still left a huge business wealth to future generations.

▲ Picture from: Associated Press Photo

In 2009, Harvard Business School named Brown one of the top American business leaders in the 20th century, along with Disney founder Walt Disney and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Brown uses his innovation and business leadership to reshape the way people interact, work, and live.

Today, KFC has become the world's second largest fast food and largest fried chicken chain enterprise, and has been ranked among the top 100 global brands for many years, with more than 7,200 stores in China.

After the news of Brown's death was announced, his children added that he died from a series of health problems stemming from complications from COVID-19 that he began this summer, and that Brown spent time in the intensive care unit in Lexington before his death. three weeks.

▲On November 30, 1983, Brown and his family

Current Governor Andy Beshear has ordered flags to be flown at half-mast in his honor until the day of his burial.

His family said:

Brown was never afraid of failure, always kept a sense of humor, and lived with passion and enthusiasm until the last moment of his life. This allowed him to overcome difficulties countless times. Every day is an exciting adventure for him.

He's a true Kentuckian, and he's proud of his hometown and its people. He had many great accomplishments, but most of all, he loved his family with all his heart and we love him as much.

We are all heartbroken by his passing, but we find comfort again in the words he wrote in his final days.

"I've never been happier," Brown said.

Information reference:
wikipedia:John Young Brown Jr.
dailymail: Kentucky Fried Chicken pioneer dies aged 88
Kentucky: John Y. Brown, former Kentucky governor and Kentucky Fried Chicken owner, dies
spectrumnews1: Former Kentucky governor, KFC owner John Y. Brown dies at age 88
Global Times: Legendary CEO of KFC dies, who transformed KFC from a country fried chicken shop to a global fast food chain giant

#Welcome to pay attention to Aifaner's official WeChat public account: Aifaner (WeChat ID: ifanr), more exciting content will be presented to you as soon as possible.

Ai Faner | Original Link · View Comments · Sina Weibo