About Lee's

Since 1966, Lee’s has been providing America with delicious, fresh, never frozen chicken. Founded by Lee Cummings, nephew of world-famous Colonel Sanders, our Famous Recipe chicken is honey-dipped and hand-breaded in our famous blend of herbs and spices. Then it’s pressure-cooked to seal in the flavor that made us Famous!

So, how did Lee’s become famous in the first place? Dig deeper and learn the story behind the recipe, including Lee’s history in the Miami Valley!

Lee's Miami Valley Timeline


Lee Cummings spent his childhood in the kitchen of his Henryville, Indiana home. He worked for his uncle Colonel Sanders until 1962, when the Colonel sold KFC to John Y. Brown.

In 1966, Lee Cummings, along with Harold Omer started “Harold’s Take-Home” in Lima, Ohio where Lee first introduced his Famous Recipe Chicken.

In 1967, Lee’s opened new stores in Dayton, Springfield, and Cincinnati, Ohio and Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In 1972, Famous Recipe had 100 units! Bob Griffith joined Famous Recipe Chicken, now headquartered in Dayton Ohio, as General Manager.

By the end of 1972 the number of Famous Recipe units had doubled to 200.

In 1980, the Griffith family, now including Bob’s son Scott and his wife Kim, opened or acquired stores in Tipp City, Troy, Urbana, and Sidney. The Griffith family franchise, named FRFC Springfield, Inc., operates from its New Carlisle office to this day.

1981: FIFTEEN YEARS & GOING STRONG. Lee’s Famous Recipe marked its 15th anniversary the same year Shoney’s Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee purchased the rights to the company.

1982: FAMOUS RECIPE’S FIRST FARMHOUSE. Lee’s introduced its new farmhouse store design in Jacksonville, Florida.

1991: QUARTER-CENTURY OF CHICKEN. Lee’s celebrated its 25th anniversary with Lee Cummings as its national spokesman.
In 1995, Shoney’s sold Lee’s Famous Recipe to RTM Restaurant Group in Atlanta, Georgia.
In 1996 the chain celebrated its 30th Anniversary as part of RTM.

EXPANDED MENU OFFERINGS. The Lee’s Brand stayed strong through several ownership changes, introduced Spicy Jumbo Dippers, and strategically focused on breast strips and new sides to enhance its customers’ experience.

In 2000, the Griffith family opened a new Lee’s restaurant in Springfield, featuring new signage, a modern design, and the same great Famous Recipe products.

FOCUSED ON FRANCHISING. Lee’s re-engineers itself to better support its licensing and franchising efforts across the US, and internationally. New stores are opened or built in Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Canada. The brand continues to see sales growth outpacing the industry.

2014: Far Hills Development, the operator of one Lee’s and Arby’s combination restaurant, buys the remaining 12 Dayton-area Lee’s Famous Recipe locations! Partners Ken Riddle and Chuck Doran took the opportunity to focus their leadership on the Lee’s brand.

Lee’s Catering business has seen substantial growth as families, schools, churches, and businesses have found value having Lee’s cater weddings, parties and business events.

2016: FIFTY YEARS OF FAMOUS FLAVOR. Lee’s celebrated 50 years of being FAMOUS FOR CHICKEN.

2017: Far Hills Development is honored as Lee’s Operator of the Year!

The future is exciting as Lee’s continues to grow!