- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2006

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Colonel Sanders is shedding his white suit jacket for a cook’s red apron.

KFC debuted a new brand logo yesterday that includes bolder colors and a more well-defined visage of the late Kentucky Fried Chicken founder, Colonel Harland Sanders, who will keep his classic black bow tie, glasses and goatee.

“This change gives us a chance not only to make sure we stay relevant, but also communicates to customers the realness of Colonel Sanders and the fact that he was a chef,” said Gregg Dedrick, president of KFC’s U.S. division.

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The logo is changing for only the fourth time in 50 years and for the first time in nearly a decade. The smiling Colonel Sanders is featured against a red background that matches his red apron — with the name “Kentucky Fried Chicken.” KFC had dropped “fried” from its name and logo a decade ago as it expanded its nonfried menu items to appeal to the health-conscious.

Now, the chain is again stressing its traditional fried chicken, with a slight twist.

Store designs will include new graphics with the Kentucky Fried Chicken name and signs that read “Finger Lickin’ Good” and “11 Secret Herbs and Spices,” references to the Colonel’s famously secret recipe.

Newly built stores will be upgraded in the next 12 months, the company said. Television ads with the new logo will begin in January. KFC is owned by Yum Brands, a Louisville, Ky., company that is also the parent of Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

“Eventually, this will make its way to every restaurant,” Mr. Dedrick said. “Any new stores we build or any remodels that we make from here on out will include the new Colonel.”

The company said the new restaurants in the U.S. will include warmer interior colors, open shop-style glass windows and a digital jukebox that plays customer-selected music for free.

The new designs will go into international stores, including KFC’s booming restaurants in China, where the company is opening more than one restaurant every day, said Amy Sherwood, a Yum spokeswoman. There are 14,000 KFC restaurants worldwide and 1,700 in China.

Graham Allan, president of Yum’s international restaurant division, said many people don’t realize that Colonel Sanders existed and started the company on his own in the 1930s. The new logo hearkens back to his days as a cook and entrepreneur, he said.

“The thing that’s distinct about the Colonel is that he was a real person, he did spend time in the kitchen, he did develop the original recipe himself, and I think what this logo does is reinforce that in a very simple but dramatic way,” he said.

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