The Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees, Inc. was formed in 1974 and has a colorful history. Click here for a detailed timeline of the last 35 years!
A history workshop was held during the 2005 convention. A video of this workshop is available below. It's a long video, but well worth watching if you're truly interested in the AKFCF's history.
When Colonel Sanders sold Kentucky Fried Chicken, he feared his franchisees would lose control of their own businesses and the future that they were working toward and in which they had invested. So he encouraged them to unite to protect the franchisees that he considered part of his own "family" and to give the franchisees a voice in the future development of a concept which would prove to be far greater than was envisioned at the time. This brought about several small meetings with early franchisees and in 1965 the Southeastern Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisee Association was formed and formally organized in Atlanta, Georgia. Ten years later, the AKFCF (our national association) was incorporated in the same city.
Following the lead of the Southeast Region, the Northwest Region was formed in 1972, Upper Midwest and Southwest in 1974, Great Lakes in 1975, and the Northeast in 1976. Southern California was formed in 1966 and joined the AKFCF in 1984. A need was seen for a national organization to serve as a communication link among the regions and an organized voice for the franchisees with the corporate franchisor. The Southeast Region was the forerunner of all the regional associations and, without its help and guidance, few of the newly organized regions would have become the viable associations as we see them today. Each region has its own Bylaws and tradition of participatory democracy.
The AKFCF is unique with the "family" spirit of its membership and firmly rooted in the values of Colonel Sanders. Its purpose is clearly stated with its Mission Statement, adopted September 12, 1993, in Washington, DC: "The Association of Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchisees, Inc. is united to protect, promote and advance the mutual interests of all member franchisees and the Kentucky Fried Chicken system". This mission statement was updated effective May, 2000, to reflect a worldwide focus.
The AKFCF is composed of the seven U.S. regional associations plus the three international regions of CaribLA (Caribbean and Latin America), Canada, and Mexico, with each regional association autonomous and incorporated separately from the AKFCF. Australia, Great Britain, Middle East, and Southern Africa are closely involved in the association on the international front and are always well represented at the AKFCF annual convention. Each regional association has representation on the AKFCF board of directors: namely, the region’s President, First Vice President, and Immediate Past President.
The Board of Directors of the AKFCF is supported by the Executive Committee consisting of the AKFCF President, First and Second Vice Presidents, Immediate Past President, Secretary and Treasurer. Officers of the AKFCF must be either a director or a past or present officer of their regional association. AKFCF has been blessed with excellent leadership throughout its history.
Through the years, the AKFCF has seen challenges along with its growth. KFC Corporation has changed ownership numerous times and with this, has introduced restrictive addendums to the franchise contract on several occasions, sometimes without prior notice to franchisees or the separate National Franchisee Advisory Council (NFAC, now known as NCAC after being combined with our national advertising cooperative, also franchisee-governed). These contractual issues were met by members of the Association with a spirit of solidarity and willingness to stand its ground if negotiations could not be successfully achieved. Negotiations with KFC Corp. eventually reached a successful outcome, producing a contract acceptable to the system’s U.S. franchisees. Out of conflict and disagreements on supply and distribution came the successful formation of the KFC National Purchasing Cooperative (now a part of the Unified Foodservice Purchasing Co-op, LLC), formed and governed by the franchisees, as spearheaded by the efforts of the AKFCF and NFAC, which achieved greatly improved distribution and competition in the system and benefiting all franchisees. Through the Association’s efforts, the Operations/Facility Review (OFR) process was challenged and changed from severely subjective to a constructive, consistent review.
In 1976 the AKFCF newsletter was launched and has evolved from a small eight-page publication to the AKFCF Quarterly, which is ever-growing and one of the leading trade association publications in its field and an excellent communication instrument of the franchisees.
In September 1990, the AKFCF looked to the Southeast Region to spearhead plans for the centennial celebration of Colonel Sanders’ birth. With a gathering in Louisville and at the original Sanders Café in Corbin, Kentucky, 500 franchisees and friends renewed their shared sense of "family and purpose". During this time KFC Corp. announced it would no longer sponsor and host the traditional national convention on an annual basis. This placed the Association in the position of producing their own AKFCF Convention and Annual Meeting, with a very short time of preparation. Ever since this first hastily assembled but well attended franchisee convention, the AKFCF has managed and produced successive annual outstanding franchisee conventions for its members, with attendance now surpassing 2,500 people.
The AKFCF remains focused on protecting and promoting its members’ investments in a healthy KFC organization. The board of directors of the AKFCF updated their 2000 Strategic Plan in 2006 to ensure the clear direction of the Association well into the next millennium.
Membership in a regional association automatically entitles a KFC franchisee to the full benefits of membership in the AKFCF. If you are a KFC franchisee and would like to join your fellow franchisees in regional membership, please contact your regional secretary.