Thursday, March 8, was International Women's Day, and surely there are many people all around the world who decided to celebrate with a big ole' bucket of Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken. Fans of the famous eleven herbs and spices may have been greeted with a small surprise upon their arrival to a restaurant, however. In honor of the holiday, KFC decided to introduce a companion for the Colonel: Claudia Sanders, his wife.
KFC Malaysia posted this statement on their website:
It is hard to imagine but KFC would not be where it is today if not for Claudia, wife of Colonel Sanders. While the Colonel created the secret recipe and ran the company, Mrs Sanders mixed and even shipped the spices to restaurants across the country - often late into the night.
This International Women's Day, we pay tribute to Claudia Sanders for her role in the making of Malaysia's favourite fried chicken. And to every woman whose ideas, hard work and passion contribute to making the world a better place. Thank you.
KFC's announcement was not given the positive reception they hoped for. In fact, most people weren't too happy about Claudia's introduction.
Many people on social media appeared to believe Claudia was a conveniently invented PR-tool, but she was actually a real person!
In 1930, a full 22 years before the "birth" of a franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken, Sanders ran a small cafe in North Corbin, Kentucky. It was there he met Claudia Price, who worked as a waitress in the restaurant. Though Sanders was already married, the pair became lovers and the affair would continue until the Colonel divorced his wife and was finally able to marry Claudia in 1948.
Meanwhile, in 1939, Sanders finalized his "secret recipe" for fried chicken. In 1952, he turned that recipe into a franchise that began spreading like wildfire across the nation. He didn't do it alone, however! He has lots of help from Claudia, especially on the business end of things. While the Colonel may have been quite the salesman, he was no one-man operation.
According to the New Straits Times:
It was Claudia's duty to mix, package, and ship out the secret blend of herbs and spices to the respective outlets.
Remember: shipping food stuffs to many restaurants, some of them out of state, wasn't so easy in the 50's as it is now. And it's not all that easy now.
In 1991, Claudia herself said:
While (The Colonel) was out selling, I was home doing the work.
Claudia also played the part of hostess, appearing with the Colonel all across the country. David Novak, the former president and chief executive of KFC, once commented:
We could not have been the company we are now without Claudia's contributions.