- Friends of the late Colonel Sanders are selling his former home and a restaurant he set up.
- The restaurant, the Claudia Sanders Dinner House, is named after his wife and sells fried chicken.
- The NY Post reported that the potential sale is causing a legal headache for KFC’s parent company.
A huge property that the late KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders once lived in is on the market, and it’s causing a legal headache for KFC’s owner.
The property in Shelbyville, Kentucky, includes a house known as Blackwood Hall and an almost 25,000-square-foot restaurant called the Claudia Sanders Dinner House, which is named after the Colonel’s wife. The site also used to serve as KFC headquarters.
It hit the market in June and its owners are looking for $9 million for the two buildings, as well as some KFC memorabilia and intellectual property rights. The Colonel’s image is owned by KFC, but the buyer of the Shelbyville property will get the trademark and likeness of Claudia Sanders.
“This sale does not impact KFC, and KFC has no interest in the sale of the Claudia Sanders Dinner House and property in Shelbyville, Kentucky,” a KFC spokesperson told Insider.
But the property’s current owners – family friends of the Sanders – have fielded multiple offers from other prospective buyers, The New York Post reported. The couple still run the restaurant and live in the house but want to retire, per the publication.
But some of the potential buyers, which include restaurant groups and serial entrepreneurs, want to franchise the Claudia Sanders restaurant and open new sites elsewhere, Jonathan Klunk, a realtor at Six Degrees Real Estate, told The Post.
Days after the properties were added to the market, KFC parent company Yum! Brands submitted a patent filing seeking to reinforce protections of KFC trademarks, including “Colonel Sanders’ Original Recipe” and “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good,” The Post reported.
“KFC routinely makes required filings to ensure the continued registration of its US trademark registrations,” a spokesperson told Insider. “Additionally, KFC regularly files new applications for registration which may contain iconic taglines, such as Finger Lickin’ Good, or images, such as the Colonel, to protect new designs utilized in KFC restaurants. The timing of these routine filings is unrelated.”
“We are selling Claudia and she doesn’t have as much name recognition as her husband, but a buyer can’t describe her without mentioning both her husband and KFC,” Klunk told The Post. He said he was warning prospective buyers that if they wanted to use the Claudia Sanders brand, they would need to have a “team of intellectual property lawyers.”
“Whoever is going to take on the Claudia Sanders name is probably in for an uphill and expensive battle,” Brad D. Rose, a trademark attorney at Pryor Cashman, told The Post.
The Sanders moved into Blackwood Hall in 1959 and the Colonel sold KFC five years later. In 1968, he opened the Claudia Sanders Dinner House, which the couple ran the restaurant themselves until they retired in the 1970s, when it was taken over by the current owners. The Colonel died in 1980 and Claudia died in 1994.
The Claudia Sanders Dinner House describes itself as a “local landmark” serving “the finest in country cooking.” The original building burned down in 1999 but was rebuilt with expanded facilities. The restaurant said its largest banquet room is called the Colonel’s Quarters and can hold up to 1,000 standing guests.
Like KFC, its menu consists largely of fried chicken, including all-you-can-eat options. It also sells steak, catfish, soups, and a pecan and chocolate dessert billed as “Claudia’s Kentucky Pie.”
But Klunk told The Post that though there are “a lot of similarities” between the restaurants’ menus, the Claudia Sanders Dinner House has “no connection to the KFC recipe.”
Klunk said he’s considering splitting the bundle into separate listings to attract more buyers. Memorabilia included with the lot include Colonel Sanders’ watch and bible, the first KFC flag and bucket, and a letter President Richard Nixon sent to Sanders in 1972.