KK Original Glazed - © Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme: Fun Facts And ‘Secrets’ Revealed

The iconic all-American doughnut chain has been around or an impressive 84 years – since the Great Depression. And its recipe and production process has changed very little over the years. But there’s a lot you don’t know about the home of the Original Glazed…

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts - © Krispy Kreme

A little history…

A bold, scrappy businessman named Vern Rudolph opened the first Krispy Kreme shop in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on July 13, 1937. And never looked back. In spite of the fact that the economy as still in a lot of trouble, KK was an instant hit.

The now familiar vertical-drop doughnut making machine came into chain-wide use in the late 1940s. Thereafter, through the 1950s, Rudolph and his equipment engineers, “focused on improving and automating the doughnut making process.”

In April 2000, Krispy Kreme held an initial public offering of common stock. It opened the first international store in Canada just outside of Toronto in December 2001,” the KK website’s official History page recounts. “The first stores outside North America opened in Sydney Australia and in London, England in 2003. Since then, Krispy Kreme has opened over 700 stores in Asia, Mexico, the Middle East, Puerto Rico, and Turkey.”

Alas for KK, the Canadian business didn’t pan out. Both the Toronto-area store and one that opened soon after in the Vancouver area closed within a year. They just couldn’t compete with the legendary Canadian Tim Horton’s chain, which was already massively entrenched.

Some fun facts…

What makes KK sinkers so ‘kreamy’?

Food historians agree that it’s most likely mashed potato flakes insinuated in the dry dough mix supplied to al KK locations by the head office, An d the recipe is still a secret, locked in a vaulkt at KK HQ.

KK once sold Pizza

KK hasn’t solely focused on doughnuts early in the game. But the KK savoury pies were not around for long. The chain quickly learned its fortunes would ride on doughnuts and coffee.

The KK process is (almost) entirely automated

All employees have to do is load in dough mix, sugar glaze and water and the patented vertical-drop doughnut machine does the rest. There is one aspect of KK production where humans have not been replaced: All filled doughnuts are still filled by hand!

Krispy Kreme doughnuts are Kosher

Since all ingredients for KK doughnuts are provided by the corporation from a central point of distribution, KK doughnuts can confidently be certified kosher.

Krispy Kreme sells an amazing number of doughnuts

Krispy Kreme reports these official statistics on its Web site:

  • Every day, Krispy Kreme makes about 5 million doughnuts.
  • Every year, they make about 2 billion doughnuts.
  • Every week, they make enough doughnuts to reach from New York to Los Angeles.
  • Every year, they use up two Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of chocolate.
  • Every year, they use about 1 million pounds of sprinkles.
  • Collectively, Krispy Kreme’s stores could turn out a doughnut stack as high as the Empire State Building (that’s 1,454 feet / 443 meters) in only two minutes!

My take

Any way you look at it, Krispy Kreme is an all-American business story. Started in times of adversity, grown through the booming post WW II era. Taken to the stock market, then bought back by its franchisees. And throughout the grand adventure, the iconic Original Glazed doughnut has changed only in the smallest particulars.

Next year will mark the company’s 85th anniversary. Imagine that!

~ Maggie J.