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Infused with anticipation and excitement for the tour of the Krispy Kreme factory, my day in Winston-Salem, North Carolina started a bit sleepy. The town seems quiet and reserve, not very many people on the street. The trip to the Krispy Kreme headquarters was short (calories burnt = one) and easy to find since the office stands out with its signature bow tie sign.
At first glance the building looked all corporate and stoic, but when the door opened the whiff of fresh doughnuts shouted, “You’re home. Eat! Eat!”
When you walk in the open floor design display original equipment, the tasting rooms for the coffee and a small company cafeteria where products are available to sample. On a counter were the new heart shaped doughnuts that will be coming out for Valentine’s Day. (One just happened to go missing.)
Leaving a trail of crumbs, I was lead to a lecture room where the guide told me of the various specialty doughnuts that are produced for special promotions. They even create special doughnuts at the request of ad agencies from other industries.
This year for their 75th Anniversary, they are introducing a coffee line with three new flavors that will enhance the doughnut-eating experience: House Blend, Dark Roast and House Decaf. My personal recommendation is the Dark Roast. It gave a blast of flavor, which, accompanied with the glazed doughnut, filled my energy reserve so I could learn more about how these heaven-sent creations got their start.
It all began in 1937, when Krispy Kreme introduced their “sweet treat” with a unique gimmick - hot off the line. The doughnuts, made with top quality ingredients, were a huge success. The display cases usually remained empty since the public bought them as fast as they were made.
As time passed this “little company that could” opened almost 700 stores became international success with 21 countries at last count, with more to come. The main secret is the secret of success: the consistent use of top quality ingredients mixed with top quality workmanship. This produces a doughnut with the ability to form long lines, buy school equipment and create an international company.
The digital age has been embraced with an app that can let you know when the Krispy Kreme doughnuts have just come hot out of the oven and where to find them.
While making doughnuts is their passion, Krispy Kreme has contributed to their local markets through four different fund raising programs. You can pre-sell doughnuts with partnership cards, where after you buy a dozen doughnuts you will get a dozen Original Glazed free, or certificates for a dozen Original Glazed. Then there is the traditional method of selling boxes of doughnuts, and recently added selling the 12oz bags of coffee. Local qualified organizations have added to the school facilities, libraries, and playgrounds and more. Just contact your local store to find out more.
For me, the most impressive aspects (after the doughnuts, of course) of the company tour was meeting several company employees. Each person we met, from the president of the company to workers on the production floor, was committed to the quality of the product and the life quality of the staff.
The president, Kenneth A. May, really knows each the employees and asks about their kids and family life at home. This family-like atmosphere encourages the workers on the floor to buy into the product by knowing the importance of quality, keeping it consistent and speaking up when improvement is needed.
Later that night, the tour had dinner at a local restaurant called Sweet Potatoes, in Winston-Salem. I had the occasion to ask a Krispy Kreme employee about what it was really like to work there. He told me that the all workers are like the doughnuts – top quality. Top quality workers produce top quality products. After talking to and sampling the doughnuts … I believe him.
Some other interesting facts about Krispy Kreme doughnuts:
*The secret recipe is real and is actually kept in the vault.
*Many stores have a Kosher Certification, so call ahead to verify your particular location.
*In case you don’t get to eat them hot from the oven, all it takes is 8 seconds in the microwave will get the 3.5 inch piece of heaven to the perfect temperature for ultimate enjoyment.