LOUISVILLE, Ky. --(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Closed to feed the hungry. KFC today announced that to raise awareness for World Hunger Relief efforts, it shut the doors of its two most historic locations – Colonel Sanders' first restaurant in Corbin, Ky., and the original KFC franchise in Salt Lake City. To highlight the chain's national campaign to collect donations for the worldwide cause, it converted the restaurants into "World Hunger Relief Kitchens," serving free meals to in-need residents from local shelters.
Only a cause as important as fighting world hunger could inspire the owners of KFC's two most famous restaurants to shut their doors. The Corbin restaurant, operated by JRN Inc., has operated since 1940 and the Salt Lake City location, operated by Harman Management Corp., has been serving customers since 1952.
There are approximately 1 billion hungry people around the world today. Hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Among the key causes of hunger are natural disasters, conflict, poverty, poor agricultural infrastructure and over-exploitation of the environment. Recently, financial and economic crises have pushed more people into hunger.
"KFC feeds people every day, but closing our two most historic locations for the first time ever demonstrates our ongoing commitment to helping raise money and awareness for world hunger," said John Cywinski, Chief Marketing and Food Innovation Officer for KFC. "At KFC, we're passionate about inspiring others to help the millions of hungry people around the world today."
At Corbin on Monday and Salt Lake City today, paying customers were asked to postpone their lunches so the staffs could provide free meals to the needy. Customer feedback at Corbin was positive, with many people expressing support for the cause and even making donations to help in the fight against world hunger.
Colonel Harland Sanders opened his first restaurant in 1930 in the midst of the Great Depression, where he served as chief cook and cashier. Twenty-two years later, after making his mark on the country's culinary landscape, the first KFC franchise was born in Salt Lake City.
In honor of Colonel Sanders' 120th birthday, which took place in September, KFC has embarked on a yearlong campaign to reintroduce the Colonel to America. To help raise World Hunger Relief awareness and celebrate the Colonel's legacy, KFC chose to shutter the chain's two most historically significant restaurants.
In 2009, KFC launched the current program by closing restaurants coast-to-coast, turning them into "World Hunger Relief Kitchens." One year earlier, the brand offered a $20,000 hunger relief donation if 2008 presidential candidates gave World Hunger a voice in election debates, and in 2007 brand representatives drove cross country with a Colonel Sanders look-alike, collecting "honks for hunger," making a donation to World Hunger relief efforts for each honk.
For more information about Yum Brands' and KFC's commitment to World Hunger Relief or to make a donation, visit www.fromhungertohope.com.
KFC Corporation, based in Louisville, Ky., is the world's most popular chicken restaurant chain specializing in Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy®, Kentucky Grilled Chicken™ and Crispy Strips with home-style sides, Honey BBQ Wings, and freshly made chicken sandwiches. There are more than 15,000 KFC outlets in 109 countries and territories around the world serving some 12 million customers each day. KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky. (NYSE: YUM). For more information, visit www.kfc.com.
The Kentucky Fried Chicken concept was pioneered by Colonel Harland Sanders (1890-1980), whose cooking career began at age six. Sanders held jobs ranging from streetcar conductor to insurance salesman, but his cooking skills were a constant throughout his life. In 1930, Sanders operated a service station in Corbin, Ky., and filled the stomachs of hungry travelers who stopped in to fill up their gas tanks. Sanders soon moved his restaurant across the street when he could no longer keep up with the demand from travelers who he had been feeding at his kitchen table. In 1935, the Kentucky Governor made Sanders an honorary Kentucky Colonel for his contributions to the state's cuisine. Over the next decade, the Colonel perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the basic cooking technique still used at KFC today. When Sanders was 65, a new interstate highway forced the closure of his restaurant and he was left with only his recipe for fried chicken and a $105 Social Security check. The Colonel hit the road and struck handshake deals with restaurant owners who agreed to sell his fried chicken. What began as a dream fueled by the Original Recipe, a no-quit attitude and a Social Security check grew into the world's largest chicken restaurant chain. Until he passed away in 1980 at the age of 90, the Colonel still traveled 250,000 miles a year visiting KFC restaurants around the world.
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