LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ KFC, known mostly for serving up meals by the bucket, has begun offering chicken sandwiches as it looks to bolster its lunch business by appealing to people in a hurry.

The company expects to capture a large share of the chicken sandwich business, which it said has grown into a $4.2 billion enterprise as hamburger chains added chicken to their sandwich lineups.

KFC said it will spend $75 million on advertising, equipment, new menu boards to introduce the sandwiches, including one that incorporates KFC founder Col. Harland Sanders' original 11 herbs and spices.

``This is KFC's most significant initiative since the introduction of the bucket in 1957,'' Chuck Rawley, KFC president and chief operating officer, said Thursday. ``We expect to capture our fair share of the chicken sandwich market during the next 12 months.''

KFC has spent the past three years developing the sandwiches, which have been test-marketed for months in Kansas City and Atlanta, said KFC spokesman Michael Tierney.

The new product should be a winner for the company by filling what's been perceived as a void in KFC's menu, one analyst said.

``It's going to turn out to be very positive for the company,'' said Andrew Barish, restaurant analyst for BancBoston Robertson Stephens. ``I think consumers have often wondered why KFC didn't offer a sandwich product.''

KFC, a subsidiary of Tricon Global Restaurants Inc., has more than 10,300 restaurants in 83 countries, including 5,132 in the United States.