Written by Robert
In a previous blog entry, I mentioned that the home had some eclectic parts sourced from a demolished Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.
A few days ago, a neighbor sent me a picture of that old restaurant.
Specifically, there are some recovered wood beams and metal posts that came from the debris pile when that restaurant came down. We got an opportunity to talk to the family when they transferred the home over to us and they pointed out that the beams in the ceiling still had some KFC on them...
We found more of the KFC red on this beam supporting the attic floor near the staircase.
My next-door neighbor pointed out this 20+ foot beam that was laying along our shared fence line also came from KFC.
Finally, the fence line, on the side of the property that adjoins the alley, uses these metal posts...
These posts were used to hold up the old style dine-in-your-car parking area I've circled below:
I tried to guess the age of this photo and came up with 1962. Here's how I got there:
1. KFC didn't start offering the Bucket of Chicken until 1957 so it has to be after that year.
2. The logo on the KFC bucket was in use between 1952 and 1978. You can also see a little bit of a Sprite logo in the background to the left of where I circled the post above. That Sprite logo was in use between 1961 and 1974. So that narrows it down to a 13 year period.
3. Color slides were gaining in popularity in the mid 1950s but color prints weren't common place until after 1963. So, assuming this photo is from a black and white print, and not a slide, it was likely taken before 1963. I know this one is a stretch.
4. I don't want to admit this but I downloaded the the Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers for for 1957 to 2016 so I could start with the today's price of a bucket of KFC chicken and recursively calculate it using the inflation rate to get back to when it would be $3.95 like it is in this photo.
I found a great article for how to get the inflation rate from CPI. I downloaded the CPI data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for all urban consumers, unadjusted, loaded into an excel spreadsheet and set up my calculations.
Unfortunately, this led nowhere. I found that the cost of a bucket of chicken today is $20.49. That is for a 12 piece bucket. In the period in question however the standard bucket had 14 pieces so I had to adjust that price upwards by two pieces using the average cost of a piece of finished KFC chicken to $23.91 in 2016.
As I calculated the data backwards I found major problems. In short, a 1962 bucket of chicken at $3.95 should cost $31.71 today. So where did the $7.81 cents difference come from?
The US farm subsidy program, mechanized industrial farming practices and the use of antibiotics allowing for substandard feed and higher animal density rates.
KFC needs 3 things the most: Cheap feed (corn), delicious coating (wheat), and oil to fry it in (soybean). These are #1, #3 and #5 respectively of the crops that get the largest subsidies. So, every working American is paying, in the form of tax dollars funding farm subsidies, for cheap buckets of KFC chicken, which is fucking up my ability to hold all variables stable and reliably reverse engineer the cost of a bucket of chicken to date this photo.
So, I'm going with 1962.
UPDATE: Looks like my guess may have been right but there was a much easier path to the the answer. My neighbor said he found the photo on Facebook. So I went looking for it and located it too. The Facebook post says it was taken in 1962. It also indicated that the restaurant was on the corner of Powell and Foster. I checked the Google Earth way-back machine to see if I could spot the restaurant but the quality of the older images in this area are poor.