KFC wants you to name your child after Colonel Sanders

The chicken chain will award $11,000 in college tuition to the first baby born Sept. 9 who is named Harland.
Photograph: Shutterstock, courtesy of KFC

KFC wants to bring Harland back.

The Louisville, Ky.-based chicken chain plans to award $11,000 toward the college education of the first baby born on Sept. 9 who is given the name Harland, after KFC’s founder, Colonel Harland Sanders.

KFC noted that, according to the Social Security Administration, the name Harland ranked No. 3,257 on the list of most common baby names last year.

The company wants to move Harland up that list as a way “to honor the world’s most famous chicken salesman, continue his namesake and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

The baby name contest comes as KFC has been using the likeness of its famous founder aggressively in its ads and marketing. The company is using a series of actors, comedians and musicians to play Sanders in television ads, and his likeness is common in the chain’s newly remodeled locations.

colonel's birthday

“Even though vintage names are making a comeback, our iconic founder’s name was dwindling in popularity, and we couldn’t just stand idly by and let that happen,” Andrea Zahumensky, chief marketing officer for KFC U.S., said in a statement.

Beginning Sept. 9, parents can submit the name, date and time of their baby Harland’s birth, along with their contact information, on The site will be live for 30 days, “giving parents time to adjust to the newest addition to their family.”

The baby’s first name must be Harland, and each entry will be vetted to be sure that said baby is, in fact, named Harland.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


The case for the (mostly) digital restaurant

Tech Check: Digitizing 100% of orders has become a North Star for some brands. But 90% might be the wiser goal.


Older brands try new tricks in their quest to stay relevant

Reality Check: A number of mature restaurant chains are out to prove that age is just a number.


At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.


More from our partners