The History Of Krispy Kreme

From the moment you enter any store of Krispy Kreme, you will immediately know you are not in an ordinary doughnut shop. Once you step through the doors, you enter what you would call as doughnut theater, where you see the kitchen and share the fun of watching how doughnuts are made with good taste from heaven. The company’s strategy is very clear. It simply combines good taste with show business!


The company has created an experience out of something as ordinary as buying a doughnut. It has created something that differentiates them besides just the taste. The company strategically designed a multi-sensory experience for the customers by building glass walls around the kitchen preparation area so the customers can see exactly what’s going on behind the scenes, which really are very entertaining.


Watching the doughnuts being sent down to the assembly line for the final touches of glaze plus receiving free paper Krispy Kreme chef’s hats, are more than what you expect out of a bite of doughnut. The golden doughnuts cook quickly, browning in just over 3 minutes.


With such an awe inspiring show, visitors have been highly entertained and enjoying the show behind the scenes! What was shared created a unique kinship between the customers and Krispy Kreme, thus making the brand an important part of most family gatherings.


Everything they do, they create it more and more around the experience. This made the customers associate Krispy Kreme not just with good tasting doughnuts, but also with wholesome, positive, fun family times.



People connect to Krispy Kreme for the doughnuts, but not necessarily because of the doughnuts. They connect to the ultimate experience of Krispy Kreme, which they haven’t experienced with the competitors. Here is the timeline of Krispy Kreme


The first thing they did during the first few months is to design the store and bring the doughnut making theater out to make it part of the store experience. The show was also somewhat created as a brand guarantee that Krispy Kreme is making its own original glazed doughnuts.




The founder of Krispy Kreme, Vernon Carver Rudolph, bought a doughnut shop from a New Orleans French chef in Paducah, Kentucky. Along with the sale, he received the company’s assets, goodwill, and the rights to a secret yeast-raised doughnut recipe.


Mid 1930s

At this time, the business focused on selling doughnuts to local grocery stores. Rudolph and his partner decided to move the operations in Nashville, Tennessee in the hope of covering a larger market. The other members of the family enthusiastically joined the business, which led to the opening of two more shops in Charleston, West Virginia, and in Atlanta, Georgia.



July 13, 1937

During the early summer of 1937, Rudolph decided to leave Nashville to open his own doughnut shop. He and two other young men set off in a 1936 Pontiac and arrived in Winston- Salem with $25 in cash, a few pieces of doughnut-making equipment, the secret recipe, and the name Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.


They used their last $25 to rent a building across from Salem Academy and College in what is now called historic Old Salem. With no money left to buy ingredients, Rudolph convinced a nearby grocery to lend him ingredients in return for payment once the first doughnuts were sold.


Next, Rudolph needed a way to deliver the doughnuts. So, he took the back seat out of the Pontiac and installed a delivery rack. On July 13, 1937, the first Krispy Kreme doughnuts were made at the new Winston-Salem shop.


Soon afterward, people began stopping by to ask if they could buy hot doughnuts right there on the spot. The demand was so great that Rudolph opened the shop for retail business by cutting a hole in the wall and selling doughnuts directly to customers, marking the beginning of Krispy Kreme’s retail services.


As the business grew and so is the demand for the delicious doughnuts. Cutting a hole in the building wall was an opportunity to start the retail business by selling the doughnuts directly to the customers.



1940s to 1950s

As the popularity of the brand Krispy Kreme spread, customer kept coming back to any stores bearing the Krispy Kreme brand. The customers were confident they would always enjoy the same delicious taste, no matter where they bought the doughnuts.


Steps were taken throughout the ‘50s to mechanize the doughnut-making process. Hand-cut doughnuts became a thing of the past with the new Krispy Kreme automatic doughnut cutter.


Proofing, cooking, glazing, and screen loading had become entirely automatic. This was the first version of Krispy Kreme’s continuous yeast doughnut- making equipment and is the foundation of the doughnut- making process used by Krispy Kreme stores today.


The Krispy Kreme automatic doughnut cutter machine helps ensures consistency and delivers the perfect mix every time. It is a very cool machine that gives the doughnuts their perfect shape.




The automatic doughnut cutter, which had revolutionized production, was replaced by a new innovation. Instead of doughnuts being cut, they were extruded by air pressure from the dough hopper to the trays of the continuous proof box.


This process is still used in Krispy Kreme stores. The classic Krispy Kreme store with its hallmark green tile roof and heritage road signs first appeared in the 60s.



August 16, 1973

Sadly, in 1973, Vernon Carver Rudolph passed away.



May 28, 1976

The Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation became a wholly- owned subsidiary of Beatrice Foods Company of Chicago, Illinois. The headquarters for Krispy Kreme remained in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.



February 28, 1982

A group of Krispy Kreme franchisees, led by Joseph A. McAleer Sr., purchased Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation from Beatrice Foods Company. Krispy Kreme became an independent company once again.



June 26, 1996

The first Krispy Kreme store in New York City opened at 265 West 23rd Street.



July 17, 1997

Krispy Kreme’s place in American society was recognized by the contribution of Krispy Kreme artifacts to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.


Krispy Kreme earned its place as an American icon with many important company artefacts being featured in the collection of the Smithsonian’s Institute’s National Museum of American History.



January 26, 1999

The first west coast store opened in the Los Angeles, California area at 1801 West Imperial Highway in La Habra, California.



April 5, 2000

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. held an initial public offering of common stock on the NASDAQ under the stock symbol KREM.



February 21, 2001

Krispy Kreme acquired Digital Java, Inc., a small Chicago-based coffee company. With this acquisition Krispy Kreme improved and broadened the beverage offering available to customers.



May 17, 2001

Krispy Kreme’s common stock transferred to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the new ticker symbol KKD.



November 13 2001

Krispy Kreme opened its first store using new proprietary doughnut technology in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This new machine was called the Krispy Kreme Hot Doughnut Machine.


It is a kind of conveyor oven and glazing system that closely resembles the Krispy Kreme’s traditional doughnut production equipment. The Hot Doughnut Machine is designed to finish cooking and glazing doughnuts that have been prepared to a certain point at a factory store and delivered fresh to a store employing this technology.


The new machine allows Krispy Kreme to bring the hot doughnut experience to more customers, including malls, airports, downtown locations, and more.



December 11, 2001

Krispy Kreme opened its first store outside the United States, in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, which is just outside Toronto.



October 2002

Krispy Kreme introduced four new signature coffees to its stores — including Smooth, Rich, Bold and Robust Decaf — all made from high-quality coffee beans and roasted by Krispy Kreme’s own Roastmaster to exact specifications.



June 19, 2003

Krispy Kreme opened its first store outside of North America in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia, a suburb of Sydney.



October 3, 2003

Krispy Kreme opened its first store in the United Kingdom in Harrods of Knightsbridge, London, England.




Today, Krispy Kreme produces approximately 7.5 million doughnuts a day and more than 2.7 billion doughnuts a year. Krispy Kreme has grown to serve customers through more than 360 U.S. stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the U.K. including Asia, particularly the Philippines.


Krispy Kreme doughnuts and snacks also are sold at thousands of supermarkets, convenience stores, and other retail outlets across the United States. Krispy Kreme’s most famous and best-selling product is the hot, glazed, yeast-raised doughnut known as the “Krispy Kreme Original Glazed.”


In addition to delivering fresh doughnuts daily, Krispy Kreme also sells snack foods, real fruit pies, cinnamon buns and mini-doughnuts to wholesale outlets, such as convenience stores and supermarkets.


Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. completed an initial public offering of common stock on April 5, 2000 on the NASDAQ under the stock symbol KREM. 13,800,000 shares were offered in the initial public offering at a price of $5.25 a share.


In February 2001, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. completed a follow-on public offering of 10,400,000 shares of common stock at a price of $16.75 per share. Of the 10,400,000 shares, 9,313,300 were sold by selling shareholders and 1,086,700 were sold by Krispy Kreme.


Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc.’s common stock transferred to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on May 17, 2001 under the new ticker symbol KKD.


Adjusted to reflect a two-for-one stock split paid in the form of a stock dividend effective March 19, 2001 to shareholders of record as of March 5, 2001 and a two-for-one stock split paid in the form of a stock dividend effective June 14, 2001 to shareholders of record as of May 29, 2001.



Production output

A typical Krispy Kreme store produces more than 3,000 doughnuts per hour, but larger stores can produce up to 12,000 doughnuts per hour. In about 22 seconds, Krispy Kreme stores can produce enough doughnuts to make a stack the height of the Empire State Building.


Krispy Kreme uses enough chocolate each year to fill nearly five Olympic-sized swimming pools and 1.3 million pounds of sprinkles, enough to fill 33 18-wheeler trucks. The latest craze for doughnuts? Serving Krispy Kreme doughnuts at weddings.


After a story ran in InStyle magazine’s special “Weddings” issue (Spring 2002), couples began calling Krispy Kreme stores to place doughnut orders for wedding receptions.


Krispy Kreme roasts and blends approximately 1.5 million pounds of coffee a year, which is three times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.



Some history quirks

Doughnuts trace their history to Dutch “fried cakes,” which were brought to America by early Dutch settlers. The cakes had nuts embedded in their centers, and early Americans combined “dough” and “nut” to make the word “doughnut.”


The hole in the center of the doughnut is credited to a young boy named Hanson Gregory, who, in 1847, suggested to his mother that she put a hole in the middle of her “fried cakes” to ensure the cake was fully cooked in the middle.


Krispy Kreme doughnuts are formed from dough extruded by air pressure to form a perfect doughnut shape. The doughnut “hole”.




Kazanjian, K., & Joyner, A. (2004). Making dough: The 12 secret ingredients of Krispy Kreme’s sweet success. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Krispy Kreme websites

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