I was invited to Winston-Salem, N.C. to the Krispy Kreme Factory and HQ. It is in the same building it has been in since 1947, down the way from its original location started 10 years prior. Krispy Kreme’s history goes back a long way back to 1933 when Vernon Rudolph bought the secret yeast-raising recipe from a New Orleans chef and then started his first store in Kentucky. He then moved to North Carolina and started making doughnuts to sell to stores in July 13, 1937. People caught the smell of him making them, that he cut a hole into a wall of his factory to sell to people directly. It caught on and from there, well its history and I am always an enthusiast for anything that is American and historic. Here is more in depth Krispy Kreme history. We were given a private tour around their factory for a worthy experience of doughnut eating and coffee drinking. Our host was Lafeea Watson, who’s the PR and Media Manager. She was a great host and kept us all ready for what we were about to have a great day doing.
We started the morning off with a presentation by Branan Wagaman on Krispy Kreme’s commitment to providing quality coffees along with their world famous coffee. Branana and corporate chef Ron Rupocinski filled us in on their choices of beans for their coffees and some great doughnuts to eat with different coffees. It was a window into their process of how they go about choosing their products to provide in their stores worldwide. One very simple tip I did pick up was eating my doughnut with a plain coffee. I am a fan of sugar and cream in my coffee, but a plain coffee is complimented well with a sweet doughnut, which is nothing new.
Krispy Kreme has listened to their customers and set out and crafted 3 new signature coffees all made with 100% Arabica beans which go great with their one-of-a-kind doughnuts. The Krispy Kreme Signature house Blend is a smooth and medium-bodied Latin American blend which pairs well with any doughnut, especially an original glazed. The Dark Roast has a full body flavor with blends of African, Indonesian and Central American coffees for those needing that extra bold taste. We gave this a taste with the blueberry cake doughnuts which worked well with the berry and flavorful coffee. The other new signature coffee is a House Decaf of Columbian and Sumatran coffee for those who want that tasty coffee flavor without the caffeine. We paired this with a raspberry glazed but to be honest they worked with any doughnut, but then again I love all doughnuts!
These new flavors come in a variety of cup sizes including a 12 oz., 16 oz., 20 oz., and also come fresh packed in 12 oz. retail bags, and a large 96 oz. brew box.
We then had a chance to meet the top people in the Krispy Kreme organization and were told a little about their purpose (or mission) of Krispy Kreme. They have a long history that spans back many decades and will one day each a century, so there is a lot of people with a lot of memories attached to having a good time eating a sweet hot fresh doughnut and this is something that is important to Krispy Kreme. The brand seems to be genuine in their pursuit of making sure their brand has an impacting and lasting memory on their customers. Of course this is a no brainer, cause when you think of all the people who have had a doughnut with their loved ones it is not hard to realize how easy a sweet can make anyone happy at any moment.
We first had a chance to meet Dwayne Chambers who is their senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Dwayne has a lot of experience and it was great to hear his passion for Krispy Kreme and its future. Next Sam Fowler, director of Krispy Kreme fundraising program, gave us some great info on their fundraising. Krispy Kreme has some great ways to raise some funds for those good causes. Last year over $30 million was raised with fundraising so the possibilities are endless. The way he got involved was interesting and he is responsible for developing many of the fundraising tools that are successful to this day. James Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, gave us some insight on his passion to make sure that people remember Krispy Kreme experience. He shared some his joy in hearing the happy memories from people who bring back past experiences attached to a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Finally Kenneth May, Chief Operating Officer, met with us all to further emphasize the purpose and mission of Krispy Kreme which is to touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme. Check out the Krispy Kreme Community page for recent experiences from people all over.
I was then given a private tour of the plant facilities. I am a fan of anything technical and it was neat to see where all the flour is measured, prepared, mixed and packed for use in their stores around the country and around the world. It was cool to have a little private tour and the plant manager was a great guy. He filled me in on one reason of sweetness in Krispy Kreme and it was down here we love out sweets which answered a long wondering question of mine. Oh and of course what product would not be successful without a secret recipe kept in a vault? This one has a vault for a reason, and its real, the secret recipe. There were areas shown that I could not share, but here are some I could share.
So we finished off the day as members of a research & development team. Ok, well not exactly but we were given a little crash course in how the process works. We first worked on honing and developing our understanding of our taste buds. We worked on learning how our tongues pick up different tastes by giving off feelings in different parts of your tongue, or at least I did. Our instructor was Tanisha Randolph, who has over 10 years as a food scientist, and has worked on several well-known beverage and consumer goods.
The whole group split into 2 groups, and as a team were to make a doughnut for the other group. We worked with Tim Heatherly who is part of Training and Operations Development. This is the team responsible for how the process is to be carried out and developed. So we then worked with him to create doughnuts. We came up with an agreed doughnut then created a factory style system to assemble our doughnuts. We made a dozen tasty looking treats efficiently. We then had some time to mess around in a Krispy Kreme test kitchen and made some tasty drinks, but lets say I prefer to go into the store.
I can say that I didn’t quite think about Krispy Kreme and its history and the impact it’s had on the millions and millions of people that have enjoyed their treats. I am fortunate to have a Krispy Kreme a few minutes down the road from my home here in Beaverton, OR, but I have always enjoyed Krispy Kreme doughnuts in many cities around the country and hope to get to enjoy some overseas. But the best of all is I will have an even bigger enjoyment for them now!
One thing I learned, It’s always good to have a really fresh doughnut with my cup of coffee, no sugar needed.
Krispy Kreme paid for my expenses during this trip but our family often visits our local Krispy Kreme store.