Monday, September 29, 2008

Highly-Guarded Trade Secret Recipes: KFC, WD-40, Big-Mac Sauce & More

The Big Mac Special Sauce

In 2004 McDonald's acknowledged that they had lost the recipe for the Big Mac special sauce. As it turns out, McDonald's changed the original special sauce recipe to cut costs and lost the original. When a returning exec wanted to return to the original special sauce, no one could find the recipe. The exec remembered the name of the California company that supplied the sauce 36 years ago. They still had the sauce in their record books, and McDonald's was able to recover the recipe. (Source:

KFC Chicken Recipe

Only two KFC executives know the finger-lickin’ recipe of 11 herbs and spices. A third executive knows the combination to the safe where the handwritten recipe resides. Less than a handful of KFC employees know the identities of the three executives, who are not allowed to travel together on the same plane or in the same car for security reasons. After being locked in a safe for 68 years, Colonel Harland Sanders’ handwritten recipe was temporarily relocated to a secret-secure location as KFC modernizes its safekeeping. It was transported in an armored car and high-security motorcade.

Coca-Cola's Coke Recipe

According to many, the formula for Coke is the most famous trade secret. When Coke, at the end of the 19th century, decided not to patent its formula, it did so for one reason: to keep it secret, forever. In May 2006, a Coke employee and two others were charged with stealing and trying to sell guarded Coke secrets to Pepsi. Pepsi notified Coke of the breach and the FBI was called in.

WD-40 Formula

The formula for WD-40 is locked in a bank vault and has only ever been taken out of the vault twice -- once when they changed banks and once on the CEOs 50th birthday. The CEO rode into Times Square on the back of a horse in a suit of armor with the formula. The company mixes WD-40 in a concentrated form in three locations -- San Diego, Sydney and London -- and then sends it to aerosol manufacturing partners.

Plasma Display Secrets

A 49-year old man known only as Jeong (from Korea) copied more than 1,182 top secret plasma display technology-related files onto his personal drive before waltzing out of LG's doors for the final time in July of 2005. A few months later, Chinese manufacturer Changhong-Orion PDP-Chaihong welcomed him with open arms and paid him a fat salary of roughly $300,000 a year (not to mention a few perks: free apartment, vehicle etc.), while casually accepting both the aforementioned files and continued insider leaks at LG -- information supposedly valued at over a billion dollars

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