The Colonel’s Secret Recipe

I imagine that a lot of people under the age of 20 are probably unaware that KFC is an acronym for Kentucky Fried Chicken. But those of us who are of a certain age will clearly remember the late Colonel Harland Sanders and his secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices which, to this day, are used to prepare Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Back in 1935, Governor Ruby Laffoon gave Sanders the honorary title of Colonel and Sanders began dressing in the style of a stereotypical Southern gentleman and calling himself “Colonel” as a way of self-promotion for his restaurant/motel where he was perfecting his method of preparing (that secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices) and cooking chicken (with a “pressure fryer” that allowed for much faster cooking than traditional pan-frying achieved).

There really is a handwritten piece of paper containing the famous recipe that is closely guarded by the company in a safe. Last September the recipe was removed to a super-secret location while the safe at headquarters was being upgraded and a couple of weeks ago it was returned to its new sanctuary. You can read all about the new safe here.

Back when I was much, much younger I was an assistant manager for a privately-owned drive-in restaurant in Oklahoma City that still, even in the late 70’s, based its service on cute girls skating out to deliver orders. Jim Riley, the manager at the time was developing his own recipe and method of frying chicken and for fun I had a sign put on our marquee that read something to the effect of “Try Colonel Riley’s New Fried Chicken.” He was pleased and business was increasing until a few days later when the owner received a cease and desist letter from the lawyers in the corporate office of Kentucky Fried Chicken whose franchise store down the highway from us had complained about the sign because I used the words “Colonel” and “Fried Chicken” together.

I’ve never liked Kentucky Fried Chicken since.

Writing this got me to thinking about other restaurants that use initials instead of spelling out their name. First I thought of ARBY’S, which if you believed their commercials of the past, stood for “America’s Roast Beef Yes Sir” but is, in fact, the initials of the Raffel Brothers (RB’s), Leroy and Forrest who created the concept.

Second, I thought of TCBY, a yogurt chain that my step-daughter used to work at and that my in-laws love to frequent. The company website states that the initials stand for “The Country’s Best Yogurt”, but I’ll have to take their word for that since I’ve never tried their product.

And finally, TGIFriday’s, which everyone knows stands for “Thank Goodness It’s Friday.”

So, are there any other restaurants that use initials instead of spelling out their name that you can think of that I missed?

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