Keeping KFC's Secret Recipe A Secret

Posted September 11, 2008

This has the scent of a publicity stunt, but it's still pretty cool. KFC  announced that the Colonel’s Original Recipe, that secret blend of herbs and spices invented by Colonel Harland Sanders in 1940, would be transported this Tuesday to a temporary location  in an armored car, escorted by off-duty Louisville police, in a briefcase handcuffed to security consultant (and MSNBC analyst) Bo Dietl, while Dietl's recommended improvements are made to build a new more secure container for the ingredient list.

The security measures already in place are straight out of Get Smart: According to KFC, only two company executives are allowed to know the recipe, while a third executive knows the combination to the safe where it’s kept; the three are not allowed to travel together. But the company recently decided that a locked safe wasn't quite enough to guard something that helps bring in $5.3 billion in annual U.S. sales. They're not the only ones: At this year's Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, DineEquity chairman and CEO Julia Stewart described similar security precautions taken to guard the recipe for the IHOP pancake. Perhaps instead of pursuing intellectual property rights for recipes and restaurant concepts, restaurant chefs will instead start investing in lockboxes.

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