KFC vs. Kentucky Fried Chicken

At least with your example of KFC the problem could be mitigated if how the tag is suppose to be used was followed. For instance https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:name says “If a signpost abbreviates the name to save space, but the name can reasonably be spelled out in full, the name=* should also be spelled out in full.” So really it should be name=Kentucky_Fried_Chicken. But the Name Suggestion Index, which dictates how common brands are tagged in OSM, leans more toward abbreviating everything. And then there are the thousands of users who don’t know or care about the specifics.

You can improve Nominatim all day to consider dots and gaps in it’s search results, but it’s still going to give subpar results unless consistent, across the board standards for how to use the name tag are followed. Especially when it comes to abbreviations, but it’s really a more generally problem of inconsistency, which is particularly bad when it comes to “brand” tagging.


it depends

In Poland noone names it “Kentucky Fried Chicken” in basically any context. Maybe in USA that name is used and shortened form is used on signposts?

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Same for Spain. It doesn’t seem right that a mapper would have to be aware of the history or origins of the company to map the name, and to map that rather than what is visible on the ground. And even if they did, how would that help with the search engine?

Perhaps the “K.F.C.” examples would be better tagged as KFC, but I don’t know how it is branded in those countries.


KFC should never come up in any search.

You can go to their website right now and it says “Kentucky Fried Chicken” in bold black letters the corner top of the page. It’s also on most of their packaging (which again you can see on their website). Even their Wikipedia uses their full name. So it has nothing to do with their origin or history. It’s literally what they currently call themselves. That’s not to say “people” usually call them that, but it’s because KFC is just easier to say then “Kentucky Fried Chicken” and people naturally abbreviate things when they can. 100% the company abbreviates it because KFC is just easier to put on a large sign. “Kentucky Fried Chicken” barely fits on their packing as it is. It clearly wouldn’t fit on roadside sign in any legible way. At least not to the degree that KFC does.

Regardless though, no one is going to be confused about what restaurant “Kentucky Fried Chicken” is even if most people abbreviate it. So it’s really a distinction without a purpose. Except that it would clearly improve search results if the name tag was the companies full name.

name tag is for commonly used name, not the longest possible form of name, or form used on their website or for the official name.

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I don’t see it:
KFC Spain: https://www.kfc.es/
KFC Global: https://global.kfc.com/

Again, I don’t see that in Spain. In fact I would say that KFC is “literally what they currently call themselves” here. Of course it’s fine to tag as “Kentucky Fried Chicken” in the USA if that is what they call themselves there, but the examples in this topic have been from other countries.


I can certainly remember the being branded Kentucky Fried Chicken in
the UK. It apparently changed in 1991.


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Where did I say the name tag should be the longest possible form of the name? Anyway, things like what they use on their website, packaging, and how mainstream websites like Wikipedia refer to them are intrinsically a part of determining what the “commonly used name” is. That’s not to say what people in Poland call them doesn’t matter, but it’s obviously only one factor of many should be involved in determining the common name of something. Like where I in Northern California people here will call San Francisco “SF.” That doesn’t mean it should be re-tagged as name=SF though :joy:

I was talking about their main website, https://www.kfc.com/. I don’t really care what branding they use on their website for Maldives or whatever. Although I am a little surprised that they don’t use “Kentucky Fried Chicken” on https://global.kfc.com/ :man_shrugging:

I’d be interested to know how many locations there are in Spain. My guess would be that there are vastly more locations in the United States then there are in Spain. According to @Mateusz_Konieczny the name tag should be the “commonly used name.” So if were we going by that what people call it Spain shouldn’t really matter since their usage clearly isn’t “common.” Same goes with what it’s called in Poland. Personally, I don’t really care either way except that it’s a global map and using the name tag for abbreviations in cases like this clearly causes problems with the search results. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if people in North Korea call it “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, “KFC”, or “kenteoki peulaideu chikin” if no one can find the restaurant they are looking for.

In the meantime, the Wiki says in plenty of places that the name tag shouldn’t be used for abbreviations. Just to cite a few examples, “If the name can be spelled without an abbreviation, then don’t abbreviate it”**, “Do not abbreviate words”, “if a signpost the name to save space, but the name can reasonably be spelled out in full, the name=* should also be spelled out in full.” I’m not trying to Wiki lawyer this, but I don’t think waiting for someone to magically come along and fix what we all agree is an extremely complex problem on Nominatim’s end is a good solution, at least not in the interim. Whereas, it’s something there’s clearly an established consensus about that would fix the problem if we followed it :man_shrugging:


It depends on when the particular location was last remodeled. They seem to alternate every several years, but both names coexist. The food packaging had been pretty consistently branded “KFC” for decades but then reverted to the full name at some point. NSI also tags alt_name=Kentucky Fried Chicken, so in practice there’s no issue with users being able to find the location with either spelling.


Nederland: KFC is the common name, it’s also what they call themselves, and we have average 1 KFC per 200000 inhabitants. Some regions only have a few along the motorways, others have many in and around the cities. I never go, though, so I will not search for them in OSM.

Should we use local names or a globally accepted one to name things?
I think this is the main argument of debate here.

Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Using the local name allows people who actually live there and will use the map to find stuff to find it easily by searching the name they know.
Using a globally accepted name will allow people from all over the world to easily find what is being searched without bothering about local naming conventions.

In this case, Kentucky Fried Chicken and KFC are both names which are known around the world though with different popularity.
I could come up with examples where shops have completely different names in different countries, apparently KFC is called PFK in Canada. Source

Thus the main problem is how to let everybody around the world understand which shop that is, as well as letting local people understand what that is?
By the map what is on the ground rule you should use the local name and disregard how it is known globally.
However we might use the alt_name or official_name keys to indicate this, or even something as name:en.

Now, what should go in the name tag? The globally recognized name or the locally recognized one?
If you couple it with official_name you would then place KFC in the name tag and Kentucky Fried Chicken in the official one.
If you’re using alt_name that’s a bit more murky, we would have to discuss over that; personally, I would place the locally recognized one in the main tag and the global one in the alternative name since chances are that the globally accepted name is not even understood locally.
If you’re using name:en then you can place the globally accepted name in there (if it’s an English name) and the locally accepted one in the normal name tag, though this would fail for English speaking countries that have a different name from the globally accepted one; in this case, Canada would fail to work because you would have name=PFK, name:en=Kentucky Fried Chicken which is problematic because English is one of the official languages of Canada and thus PFK would also be an English name…

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I would not spell out IBM to International Business Machines. Or 3M to Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing. Or FedEx to Federal Express. Or UPS to United Parcel Service. or BASF to Badische Anilin- und SodaFabrik.

I was pretty sure that they had rebranded themselves to just “KFC” a while back and was surprised to see it fully spelled out on their USA website.

Maybe it should be like Royal Dutch Shell where the brand is simply Shell. Or did they officially drop “Royal Dutch” recently?

Maybe the tagging could be brand=KFC, officlal_name=“Kentucky Fried Chicken”, short_name=“KFC”. Except the wiki page for name indicates official_name=* is for countries.

We should use correct ones.

If KFC company operates a single location in Foobar where it is named Kffffffffc then it should be tagged as name=Kffffffffc

That is already well decided. Local name. See say Node: ‪Київ‬ (‪26150422‬) | OpenStreetMap

finally someone has non-theorethical use for brand:wikidata - if anyone cares about this.


Where it claims this? It can be used for all named objects.

I’m not sure there is a problem in this case, isn’t PFK used in French speaking areas, where “name=” would normally be in French on many other objects also? This doesn’t seem much different from, say, name=“Gare Windsor”, name:en=“Windsor Station” (Relation: ‪Gare Windsor‬ (‪2998015‬) | OpenStreetMap)

It is hinted at in the main table of Variants https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:name “It has been created for country names but we need a clarification for other cases between “name”, “int_name”, “loc_name” and “official_name””. So it doesn’t forbid using official_name for things other than countries, but it does rather discourage it. I agree that in practice it is used for other things.

I think KFC is tricky not only because of uncertainty around tagging conventions, but because it is not clear in the real world which is the “global” name, or if there is one at all. It seems the company itself has changed approach at certain times, and may have ended up with “KFC” being the most common brand in most countries but “Kentucky Fried Chicken” used prominently in the USA.

I’m not sure there is a problem in this case, isn’t PFK used in French speaking areas, where “name=” would normally be in French on many other objects also?

in Germany, typically it is called Kentucky schreit ficken, although you would maybe not expect this as nat_name in a map :face_with_monocle:

I edited that page


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