Donuts to stay center of plate at Krispy Kreme

by Eric Schroeder
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Tony Thompson, president and c.e.o. of Krispy Kreme, said the company has a lot of opportunity within the donut category.

CHICAGO — When consumers think of Krispy Kreme, they think of donuts. That’s perfectly okay with the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company, said Tony Thompson, president and chief executive officer.

“Consumer research says people see Krispy Kreme as like a bakery,” Mr. Thompson said during the Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s Growth Stock Conference held May 5 in Chicago. “So there’s a lot of opportunity within donuts and donut variety that will always stay center of plate for us. We’re not going to stray from who we are as a brand and as a company in the way consumers view us.”

That said, Mr. Thompson indicated that Krispy Kreme still sees a lot of room with variety and premium offerings within that plate. As an example, he cited the use of limited-time offerings that have worked well for the company, as well as the offering of premium donuts at a premium price point.

“Currently, as part of our Campfire Treats promotion, you can get a S'mores donut,” he said. “Just think about that. … That sounds really good, doesn’t it? You can get a Dirt Cake filled donut with Oreo filling. So that — those types of things get an upcharge — call it 20c — and that enables consumers to choose pricing based on those premium offerings. So you’ll see more of that in the future.”

While Mr. Thompson stressed the importance of donuts at Krispy Kreme, he also mentioned that a longer term focus is beverage. Last fall, Mr. Thompson said during a second-quarter conference call that Krispy Kreme didn’t want to be boxed in as a donut destination, and was angling to become known as a beverage company, too.

“It’s (beverage) an area that we just haven’t really grown it very well over the past several years, and most specifically coffee,” he said during the May 5 conference call. “So we have a comprehensive approach, and we brought in some resources and expertise in December to help us on that long-term strategy to really making beverage more holistically part of the Krispy Kreme experience, and, again, specifically coffee. You think of donuts, you think of donuts and coffee. Well, coffee has changed over time, so there’s a lot of work that we need to do incorporating that into the whole Krispy Kreme experience. So there’ll be more to come on that. You may see some limited-time offers and things in the short term, but in longer term in nature, it needs to be all part of our consumer experience inside of our shops.”
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