The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-26-2005, 04:38 PM
Idle Thoughts Idle Thoughts is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Arizona
Posts: 8,925
Why did Kentucky Fried Chicken become KFC?

Any reason behind the shortening of the name or was it just an advertising thing? Making it easier to say or something like that..?

I don't think they all changed...most most did. Most around here anyway (Arizona).
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 09-26-2005, 04:46 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
In the UK at least, they found it impossible to prevent independent outlets operating under such names as Kansas Fried Chicken, Krunchy Fried Chicken etc., all with a white-on-red shop front. 'KFC', I suspect, was easier to enforce.

Plus, they were probably moving into non-English speaking markets, where an identity which didn't revolve around one language would be helpful.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-26-2005, 04:48 PM
Julius Henry Julius Henry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
What I've read (no cites, sorry) is that they are trying to de-emphasize the word "fried," what with fried foods usually being higher in fat content. However, there is this silly rumor that what they sell is no longer chicken
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-26-2005, 04:50 PM
John F John F is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
What are the rules in GQ about taking a WAG?

My guess is that it has to do with the word "fried" and distancing from it. My only evidence is that early on they tried to shift the brand to Kitchen Fresh Chicken but from what I can see now they have backed away from that angle.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-26-2005, 04:57 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
I don't buy the idea that they're trying to avoid the word 'fried', because the very first sentence on www.kfc.com includes "Colonel Harland Sanders first gave the world a taste of his most famous creation, Original Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken".
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-26-2005, 04:58 PM
TLDRIDKJKLOLFTW TLDRIDKJKLOLFTW is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 3,111
I always thought that it was intentional pandering to black people, who make up a large chunk of KFC's consumer base and who have almost exclusively been the targets of their advertisements for two decades now. It seems to me that the "KFC" name chance happened just as their advertisements "went black" with things like an animated breakdancing and basketball dunking Colonel.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:00 PM
ticker ticker is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Snopes can be your friend.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:01 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Nanjing, China
Posts: 8,912
As I drove through rural Nevada, I saw that a lot of KFC's still had the "Kentucky Fried Chicken" moniker.

Down here in Mexico, it seems like they're all caught up to KFC'ifying. At the work cafeteria, they call fried chicken "pollo Kentucky" but I don't know if that's just at work, a regional (Sonora) thing, or something the whole country does. I guess I should go to the local Churches and see if they have "pollo Kentucky."
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:12 PM
deevee deevee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticker
Snopes can be your friend.
Wow! Kentucky sucks! How the hell can you come along and charge royalties on a name that has been used for decades? You shouldn't be able to change the rules ex post facto.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:21 PM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: ___\o/___(\___
Posts: 8,906
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticker
Snopes can be your friend.
That comes from the section The Repository Of Lost Legends (T.R.O.L.L.) It's a joke.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:25 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 5,022
Can Kentucky even trademark there state name that way? KFC was using Kentucky long before the state trademarked it.

Actually a quick bit of googling only turns this up on blogs and such. Does someone have a link to something more substantial than snopes?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:27 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 5,022
Too late. I looked even tried to figureout if this was one of the joke ones.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:27 PM
GorillaMan GorillaMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris
That comes from the section The Repository Of Lost Legends (T.R.O.L.L.) It's a joke.
Well, shame on Snopes. The page linked to looked like a normal Snopes page. Nothing suggested that it was Snopes demonstrating self-awareness by exhibiting their mistakes. Not only is this frustrating, but I also immediately doubt any previous occassion I've followed a link to Snopes.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:28 PM
FatBaldGuy FatBaldGuy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SLC, USA
Posts: 4,047
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris
That comes from the section The Repository Of Lost Legends (T.R.O.L.L.) It's a joke.
I have to admit, that's the first time that my BS detector has gone off while reading Snopes. I kept having the urge to reply to the article with "Cite?" but realizing I couldn't because it wasn't on SDMB.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-26-2005, 05:32 PM
chrisk chrisk is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Southern ontario
Posts: 5,904
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBaldGuy
I have to admit, that's the first time that my BS detector has gone off while reading Snopes. I kept having the urge to reply to the article with "Cite?" but realizing I couldn't because it wasn't on SDMB.
Well, maybe you should go down to the 'additional information' section, since that's where snopes usually lists their references. (And for the lost legends, that's where they linked the bullshit explainer.)
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-26-2005, 06:21 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Well, shame on Snopes. The page linked to looked like a normal Snopes page. Nothing suggested that it was Snopes demonstrating self-awareness by exhibiting their mistakes. Not only is this frustrating, but I also immediately doubt any previous occassion I've followed a link to Snopes.
That's the whole point. The Mikkelsons don't want you to take their site as the authoritative last word any more than you would the claims they debunk; hence, they provide sources from which they cite their contentions.

There are plenty of authoritative sources (World Book Encyclopedia, anyone) that are rife with errors and misquotations. If something doesn't sound right, it bears checking out.

Stranger
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-26-2005, 06:41 PM
Exapno Mapcase Exapno Mapcase is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NY but not NYC
Posts: 22,863
This question has, or will soon become, moot. KFC is changing itself back to Kentucky Fried Chicken.

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/4-30-2005-69337.asp
Quote:
After years of trying to downplay consumers’ image of their fried chicken being unhealthy, KFC has decided to turn its name back into Kentucky Fried Chicken, although the return to its original roots is a change in name only.

*snip*

The company plans to open 50 more such restaurants across the country this year. Owned by Yum Brands, Inc., KFC has served as one of the corporations flagship chains, along with Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. But KFC has been a thorn in Yum’s side in recent years because of flagging sales and consumers straying to more trendy, health-oriented fare in fast food. So to meet the demand for new, upscale fast food, KFC is going to provide the public with hip, new restaurants and products. The restaurants opening this year won’t be brand new franchises; they’ll be existing stores remodeled with new looks. They will all display the Kentucky Fried Chicken name and hip new Colonel, as well as the updated menu.
P.S. Entering Kentucky Fried Chicken name change into Google gives hundreds of hits on the story behind the hoax name change.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 09-26-2005, 07:18 PM
RaftPeople RaftPeople is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
"...hip new Colonel..."

I see the colonel, still in suspenders, break dancing.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 09-26-2005, 07:29 PM
guizot guizot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 6,124
Quote:
Originally Posted by VCO3
I always thought that it was intentional pandering to black people, who make up a large chunk of KFC's consumer base and who have almost exclusively been the targets of their advertisements for two decades now. It seems to me that the "KFC" name chance happened just as their advertisements "went black" with things like an animated breakdancing and basketball dunking Colonel.
That was part of it, but in general it was an image change because of lagging sales, when other fast food was booming.

But apparently it hasn't worked, as Exapno Mapcase cites above. So if they really thought having the word "fried" in the name were such an issue, they'd probably leave it as "KFC." I bet they're going to try something like an "original," "old-time" type theme.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 09-26-2005, 07:46 PM
JpnDude JpnDude is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
A couple of years ago, some McDonald's restaurants in Japan were converted into "M Dining" establishments that featured a more upscale, healthier menu. They didn't sell burgers nor regular fries and soft drinks. They had deli-type sandwiches, natural juices and more salads. The restaurants were also remodeled into a "Starbucks"-like decor and the workers had specially-made uniforms.

Well, the outlet down the street from my office went back to being a regular McDonald's within 6 months of opening.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 09-26-2005, 08:16 PM
Squink Squink is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by JpnDude
A couple of years ago, some McDonald's restaurants in Japan were converted into "M Dining" establishments....
More recently: Clownish burger icon crosses over
Quote:
Ronald McDonald, the garish clown recognised worldwide as the icon of the fast food restaurant chain, has been taken off the menu in Japan.
In new advertising, he has been replaced by a woman sporting a bikini and high heels
The KFC trademark dates to 1982.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 09-26-2005, 08:28 PM
samclem samclem is offline
graphite is a great moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 21,267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squink
More recently: Clownish burger icon crosses over

The KFC trademark dates to 1982.
While the trademark dates back to 1982, I can find newspaper cites(many) in the 10 year period before that referring to them as KFC. I think they just decided to finally trademark something that the general public/newspapers were using.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 09-26-2005, 08:45 PM
Squink Squink is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem
While the trademark dates back to 1982, I can find newspaper cites(many) in the 10 year period before that referring to them as KFC. I think they just decided to finally trademark something that the general public/newspapers were using.
Yes. IIRC first use goes back to 1970. Damn those trademark search links!
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 09-26-2005, 09:25 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: the Keystone State
Posts: 11,038
Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
...Plus, they were probably moving into non-English speaking markets, where an identity which didn't revolve around one language would be helpful.
In Quebec they're called PFK or poulet frit Kentucky.
__________________
No Gods, No Masters
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 09-27-2005, 01:28 AM
ouryL ouryL is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: 21° 20' N 157° 55' W
Posts: 6,409
Why did ABC, NBC and CBS do likewise?
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 09-27-2005, 01:49 AM
czygabe77 czygabe77 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
kfc is cooler

thats it. kentucky fried chicken gives you too much to think about. kentucky, not exactly as catchy as "vegas" or "mc deez". who cares about the fifteenth state, how many of us have been to kentucky or even want to go there? i bet for all the kentuckians who are offended by this reply there are more people who are saying "Kentucky is a state?" truth be told.
"Fried" is now taboo some what with the big unhealthy diet craze issue. oh by the way one of my first jobs was working at "kfc" and i got to go into the sacred kfc vault, where they keep the coveted holy grail, the secret recipe. ok spoiler alert. the seven secret herbs and spices are only seven commen herbs and spices. and so i got to dump this big spicy smelly mass much like a very large spicy flour bag into a giant tub with a hole on the bottom. i took the chicken, just plain ass chicken bone in all skin. and made giant messes, some of that secret recipe is the sneezes of the people, including me, mixing this anthrax bomb. and we put it on these racks that would lower masses of chicken into pure boiling grease. over and over again i never seen it replaced and saw it catch on fire once chargrilling the tower of deathly fat chicken. it actually tasted better, but burned off all the skins. there are about four of those fryers. and a huge mess to clean up. never eat the wings. they congeal and are resold. also they waste masses of food. they throw out so much mashed potatoes and macaroni that its horrible. they let us take what ever we wanted home but did not want to waste the energy to give hundreds of pounds of food to the homeless because of the cost to refrigerate the already sealed food. it all went into the trash.
anyways enough about my glory days, the last word is chicken, because if your going to kfc your not going for the awesome burgers. hey lets gets some kfc. you only live once.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 09-27-2005, 02:31 AM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouryL
Why did ABC, NBC and CBS do likewise?
Well, Bill Paley, founder of the Columbia Broadcasting System (now that was a great name: THIS IS THE COLUMMMBIAAA BROADCASTING SYSTEM) got ideas in the 60s about being Mr. Conglomerate, changed the name to CBS Inc., and bought neat stuff like Fender Instruments and the NY Yankees. CBS may have been the trendsetter in the "initials that don't stand for nothing" phenomenon.

NBC might still be the National Broadcasting Company, but nowadays it's only part of the media conglomerate NBC Universal (gee, that looks weird).
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 09-27-2005, 03:33 AM
Ponster Ponster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaboi867
In Quebec they're called PFK or poulet frit Kentucky.
Which always striked me as strange as they're just plain 'ol KFC here in France.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 09-27-2005, 07:53 AM
Fromage A Trois Fromage A Trois is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaftPeople
"...hip new Colonel..."

I see the colonel, still in suspenders, break dancing.
Perhaps they mean "...new hip Colonel..." and he's had an operation to aid his break dancing?
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 09-27-2005, 08:30 AM
FatBaldGuy FatBaldGuy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SLC, USA
Posts: 4,047
Quote:
Originally Posted by czygabe77
thats it. kentucky fried chicken gives you too much to think about. kentucky, not exactly as catchy as "vegas" or "mc deez". who cares about the fifteenth state, how many of us have been to kentucky or even want to go there? i bet for all the kentuckians who are offended by this reply there are more people who are saying "Kentucky is a state?" truth be told.
"Fried" is now taboo some what with the big unhealthy diet craze issue. oh by the way one of my first jobs was working at "kfc" and i got to go into the sacred kfc vault, where they keep the coveted holy grail, the secret recipe. ok spoiler alert. the seven secret herbs and spices are only seven commen herbs and spices. and so i got to dump this big spicy smelly mass much like a very large spicy flour bag into a giant tub with a hole on the bottom. i took the chicken, just plain ass chicken bone in all skin. and made giant messes, some of that secret recipe is the sneezes of the people, including me, mixing this anthrax bomb. and we put it on these racks that would lower masses of chicken into pure boiling grease. over and over again i never seen it replaced and saw it catch on fire once chargrilling the tower of deathly fat chicken. it actually tasted better, but burned off all the skins. there are about four of those fryers. and a huge mess to clean up. never eat the wings. they congeal and are resold. also they waste masses of food. they throw out so much mashed potatoes and macaroni that its horrible. they let us take what ever we wanted home but did not want to waste the energy to give hundreds of pounds of food to the homeless because of the cost to refrigerate the already sealed food. it all went into the trash.
anyways enough about my glory days, the last word is chicken, because if your going to kfc your not going for the awesome burgers. hey lets gets some kfc. you only live once.
I think you need to get a new keyboard. It looks like your Shift key is broken.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 09-27-2005, 09:24 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
About once every 5 or 6 years I get the urge to visit a KFC. My god, it pleases my pink little tongue. Yummy. Munch munch munch slurp chew chew gulp munch......please, if you have small children, don't let them watch the carnage!

And then. About 4 hours later. I'm remembering why I swore of the stuff so many years ago....
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 09-27-2005, 11:09 AM
chefjef chefjef is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
About once every 5 or 6 years I get the urge to visit a KFC. My god, it pleases my pink little tongue. Yummy. Munch munch munch slurp chew chew gulp munch......please, if you have small children, don't let them watch the carnage!

And then. About 4 hours later. I'm remembering why I swore of the stuff so many years ago....
Ugh - yeah. I was reading your post and was like "uh huh, yes, oh totally" and then as my eyes were moving from one paragraph to the next I thought of it too - why I don't eat KFC often.

I have a friend who works at KFC corporate. I now want to pick her brain about this.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 09-27-2005, 12:15 PM
PBear42 PBear42 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Personally, I don't like the TROLL section, but, hey, it's their website. Anyhoo, there's also a legitimate Snopes article on KFC.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 09-27-2005, 03:18 PM
psiekier psiekier is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
I remember the year this happened. Dennis Miller was still the anchor on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" segment, and he had this to say about it:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Miller
... and this week, Kentucky Fried Chicken announced it will be referred to from now on as "KFC."

<pause>

C'mon guys... it's chicken. How hip can ya get?
__________________
Pete
"So it's you and a syringe against the Capitol? See, this is why no one lets you make the plans."
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 09-27-2005, 03:41 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 地球
Posts: 21,351
In China, it's always been KFC(obviously this is easier then translating "Kentucky Fried Chicken".

In fact, when I told students that there are not any words in English that don't have vowels, one very bright student said, "Yes there is. KFC doesn't have any vowels."

Actually a very logical answer.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 09-27-2005, 05:35 PM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by GorillaMan
Well, shame on Snopes. The page linked to looked like a normal Snopes page. Nothing suggested that it was Snopes demonstrating self-awareness by exhibiting their mistakes. Not only is this frustrating, but I also immediately doubt any previous occassion I've followed a link to Snopes.
The point is to point out the old adage, "don't believe everything you read." As the essay Peter Morris linked to points out, even the most prestigious organizations can fall victim to a false story or other incorrect fact. (I actually have my own law, "Mead's Law," which says that every non-fiction book, no matter how well-researched, will have at least one error in it. I also think that there's some unwritten law that every textbook about business which involves global markets has to have the "Nova=no va in Mexico" story in it.)
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 09-27-2005, 05:37 PM
mobo85 mobo85 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaftPeople
"...hip new Colonel..."

I see the colonel, still in suspenders, break dancing.
Actually, I think they're just updating his look, making his face thinner and all that.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 09-27-2005, 06:19 PM
samclem samclem is offline
graphite is a great moderator
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 21,267
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouryL
Why did ABC, NBC and CBS do likewise?
The initials were used at least as early as the 1930's in radio listings in the newspapers.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 09-27-2005, 08:48 PM
Meeko Meeko is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 7,758
I fell for the Snopes TROLL pages... and told them to take them off cause they look so real.. if you link to just one.. like this thread did.

Jay Leno recently... keeps on talking about how they are going back to the full name. but thats all I got on that. Sorry.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 09-27-2005, 09:05 PM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefjef
I have a friend who works at KFC corporate. I now want to pick her brain about this.
I think it only hurts your guts if your blood is normally liquid at room temperature. Folks who take in grease/high fatty foods on a regular basis probably have less trouble than a spinnach/rice/grilled chicken eater such as myself. I could be completely wrong though. Nummy biscuits they have too. And gravy...Jimminy, there's one right across the street from me too. I'll be up all night now.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 09-28-2005, 12:17 AM
drmark2000 drmark2000 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Another name for heaven
Posts: 515
I recall reading something in the 70’s about the actual Colonel Sanders trying out the fare at one of the restaurants bearing his name (which he had already sold out to Heublein, years earlier), and declaring it “The worst chicken I ever tasted.”

I can’t remember it exactly, but there may have been some stipulation in his will that the restaurant chain would relinquish use of the original restaurant name after his death, hence the changing to KFC.

This could be crap, but I seem to remember something along these lines.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.