The real story behind Krispy Kreme mania
April 30, 2002 10:33 AM   Subscribe

The real story behind Krispy Kreme mania The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has become an object of derision in some journalism circles (scroll down a bit) for sending *four* reporters to cover the opening of a Krispy Kreme. In fact, it was just the latest victim of a carefully orchestrated campaign by KK and its p.r. minions (that first link is a PDF).
posted by agaffin (39 comments total)
The incredible hype of KKD has extended to its stock price as well. According to current market data, KKD is trading at $37.76, which is 11.54x book value, and a whopping 83.53x earnings per share. Those kinds of valuations were more typical of tech stocks 2 years ago.

Been waiting to short this stock, but it keeps going up and up . . . amazing.
posted by yesster at 10:41 AM on April 30, 2002

Stone Soup did a blistering series on this last week.
posted by yerfatma at 10:42 AM on April 30, 2002

Beyond journalists, there were young filmmakers at the KK opening in Minny (Maple Grove actually) making their own "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" I suppose.
posted by McBain at 10:54 AM on April 30, 2002

Yerfatma- The Minnesota Krispy Kreme has all those Stone Soup comics posted all over the store. I would hardly call them "blistering".
posted by McBain at 10:56 AM on April 30, 2002

My God! Are you saying that Krispy Kreme uses - *gasp* - Marketing? And .. public relations? No, not public relations. Anything but that.

The horror...
posted by Sinner at 10:59 AM on April 30, 2002

I think those reporters probably just wanted some doughnuts.

(Mmmmmmm, doughnuts ...)
posted by chuq at 11:12 AM on April 30, 2002

I saw that Stone Soup series. I was bewildered at the time. Krispy Kreme strikes me as a pale corporate shadow of local donut shops with much more interesting names, like "Gourmet Donuts" here in Denton, TX. Now I just wonder whether Stone Soup's week-long ad was responding to or conspiring in the hype. (Oliver Stone Soup!)

BTW, my reading of yerfatma's comment had <sarcasm> tags around "blistering." Yeesh, I hope.
posted by delapohl at 11:27 AM on April 30, 2002

Funny, all the Krispy Kreme's that opened in Indy 5-7 yrs ago have closed. You can only find them in gas stations and convenience stores now. They could probably use some of that marketing around here.
posted by internal at 11:35 AM on April 30, 2002

Thank you delapohl. I go out on a limb and admit to ever stopping and looking at Stone Soup and no one else recognizes the courage that took.

All I want to know is, "Is Krispy Kreme really worth it?"
posted by yerfatma at 11:43 AM on April 30, 2002

You know, there used to be a small old fashioned bakery in my old neighborhood that sold out a few years back. The new owners deep sixed the deep fryer and suddenly I had nowhere to go to get a real donut or fritter, which are to Krispy Kreme products as processed cheese food is to real handmade cheese. Plus I'm old enough to remember the smell of a real bakery that's just made fresh donuts--that bakery had that smell. It's something I miss very much.
posted by y2karl at 11:49 AM on April 30, 2002

i think they are the best donuts i've ever had, but they are donuts. i'm not going to wait in line for 4 hours for a donut. i think the outrageous lines are only when they first open, right?
posted by witchstone at 11:51 AM on April 30, 2002

Real Donut : Krispy Kreme :: processed cheese food : real handmade cheese ?!??
posted by McBain at 11:51 AM on April 30, 2002

As someone who has lived within a few minutes of a flashing 'Hot Doughnuts Now' sign for almost 20 years now, I can say that yes, they ARE all that. But remember that KK is a well-established company that has only recently gone public and gone national, so while their recent marketing efforts are a little different and more aggressive than they used to be, the donuts are still the same. And they do kick some serious booty, especially when they are still warm.
posted by spilon at 12:01 PM on April 30, 2002

They're just donuts. For the love of God.
posted by darukaru at 12:20 PM on April 30, 2002

Just donuts my ass.
I'd beat the Olsen twins to death using Haley Joel Osment as a club just to lick the residue off of the box of Krispy Kremes.


God I wish I lived near one.
posted by dong_resin at 12:36 PM on April 30, 2002

I appreciate a handmade donut as much as anyone. But other than the toroidal shape, it has nothing in common with a Krispy Kreme, they're two completely different animals. In its own way, a fresh, warm Krispy Kreme donut is perfection.

The stock is way overpriced. Wish I'd bought it when it first went public.
posted by groundhog at 12:37 PM on April 30, 2002

The reason Krispy Kreams are available in gas stations in many towns like Indy and Cincinnati is because they found it was more economically feasible to bake in one place and ship them in.

The fact is, is that Krispy Kreams aren't that good, if you live in a city that has a high quality local bakery. For instance, here in Cincinnati, we have Busken's. High quality doughnuts, about the same price as KK. Ingredients are better, consistency is better, and they are bigger as well. So it is a matter of city-to-city variances.
posted by benjh at 12:37 PM on April 30, 2002

i think the outrageous lines are only when they first open, right?

Well, the lines weren't quite what I'd call outrageous at 8 PM on a Friday, but the Issaquah, WA store was certainly doing a brisk business. Took me about 20 minutes to get a dozen.
posted by kindall at 12:39 PM on April 30, 2002

I'd beat the Olsen twins to death using Haley Joel Osment as a club just to lick the residue off of the box of Krispy Kremes.

heck, i'd do all that just for fun.

i sampled Krispy Kreme once. the only thing i was impressed with was the amount of hype surrounding them. i'd rather have some of these.

a local radio station in Tulsa was giving away seats on a concert caravan to Oklahoma City. the part of the prize that was promoted most wasn't the concert, but that they'd stop at the newly-opened KK on the way.
posted by tolkhan at 1:04 PM on April 30, 2002

OK, tolkhan, you did not just diss Krispy Kreme for Little Debbie. Damn. That's harsh. I friggin' heart Krispy Kreme. Sooooooo good. Krispy Kreme donuts and Papa John's pizza ... two proofs that chain food can be more scrumptious than the mom & pop's.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 1:10 PM on April 30, 2002

Any donut fans want to give Boston recommendations? There's got to be something out there besides the double-D. There's got to be.

I think a lot of you Krispy Kreme haters have clearly never had a glazed fresh off the belt. Stale chocolate-covered blobs you got at a gas station do not count.
posted by lbergstr at 1:13 PM on April 30, 2002

i admit that i'm not a big fan of sweet foods, but when i have a craving for donuts, it's the Little Debbies or the little ones with Snoopy on the package (i echo your praise of the Papa John though).

we're supposed to get a KK here in Tulsa sometime, or may have already. i may give 'em a second chance.

i wish we could get a White Castle instead.
posted by tolkhan at 1:22 PM on April 30, 2002

ummm donuts, ken's donuts in Austin is the world's greatest.
We got them at my company every day (I gained 657 pounds.) But then, Krispy Kreme (not the missing K) opened and everyone was excited and stood on line and brought those KK... donuts to work, and gone were the tasty interesting (all night open) ken's Donuts. I'm still sad.
posted by goneill at 1:23 PM on April 30, 2002

I used to work at local cafe/doughnut shop called, and I'm not kidding, "Eat Farmer's Donuts." However, I'm spared the local bakery doughnut nostalgia because Eat Farmer's Donuts bought day-old bags of plain doughnuts from the Mr. Donut down the street and filled them in the back. In the satifsying completion of a cycle, Eat Farmer's Donuts is now a Papa John's pizza.

I like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, although the cutesy misspelling of their name annoys me.
posted by jennyb at 1:27 PM on April 30, 2002

A landmard in West LA.
posted by Danf at 1:44 PM on April 30, 2002

Well, one thing should be noted about Krispy Kremes is that stuff you buy in a box at the grocery store or gas station is nothing, nothing, n o t h i n g like what you get at a Krispy Kreme shop when the Fresh Donuts sign is turned on. ...drool...

I live 5 minutes away from one, but haven't had one in years... (damn this type 2 diabetes!)... Just driving by the place makes my bloodsugar go up 25 points.
posted by crunchland at 1:46 PM on April 30, 2002

landmark. . . .not landmard. . .OK well at least the link worked.
posted by Danf at 1:47 PM on April 30, 2002

My whole extended family lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the site of the first shop. I was raised on those damn things, and while I usually don't eat much, I can eat a half dozen without blinking. Mmm.

But here's the thing : if they're not hot, they're nothing. I wouldn't eat a cold KK donut for cash. On the other hand, just thinking about a warm one gets my my mouth watering.
posted by jragon at 2:04 PM on April 30, 2002

i think the outrageous lines are only when they first open, right?

Not in LA. The one in Van Nuys had lines going around the corner at midnight for at least three years that I saw...

They're really good but I don't get it.
posted by owillis at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2002

I was about to say "they have to be hot" when I saw that several people have said the same thing.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you can get fresh, hot donuts anywhere else they'd be just as good as KK.
posted by SiW at 2:42 PM on April 30, 2002

Danf, that giant donut (atop Randy's Donuts) is actually in Inglewood, not West LA. Corner of Manchester and La Cienega.

And, as for Krispy Kremes...y'know, I've had 'em hot, and they're okay. More hype and PR than actual donut lovin'. Though the conveyor belt leading up to the frosting waterfall is pretty cool.

But KK is nothing compared to the Donut Man in Glendora, home of Strawberry Donuts. When it's spring, and strawberries are in season, the Donut Man will take one of those fist-sized donuts, the kind he uses for jelly-filleds, slice it open and scoop in whole, fresh strawberries with a little bit of glaze. Those babies have inspired cults and lines that would make KK's PR department wet their pants in envy.

And now I'm hungry.
posted by RakDaddy at 3:11 PM on April 30, 2002

We decided here at work that Lamar's Donuts are better than KK.
posted by jazon at 3:38 PM on April 30, 2002

The lines at the Krispy Kreme in Issaquah, WA were 1h45m when they first opened, and a bunch of friends and I hit it just as a sociological experiment. The people-watching is fantastic, especially during the winter when temperatures hover slightly above freezing. The Issaquah KK had these huge "Endless Summer" propane-powered death plumes activated to keep the people waiting in line from going into hypothermia.

It really fucked with people, too, to wait in line for nearly two hours and subsequently order one donut when we got to the front.
posted by Danelope at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2002

I tasted them twice. The donut was actually bad one of the times and made my friend feel sick. They're overrated. Not worth a ten minute wait, let alone four hours. Dunkin Donuts are just as good.
posted by neuroshred at 3:47 PM on April 30, 2002

Any Canucks know how KK compares to Tim's? 'cause I'm thinking that if there's one thing Canada does a lot of, it's gotta be those damn donuts.

IMO, donuts are pretty much just ick.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:29 PM on April 30, 2002

What I don't get is that people will apparently get in line for four hours for KK donuts. They're good, but not that good. It's funny, the local KK went bust here many years ago (I live in NC) and then came back with a vengeance after all of the hype started a few years back.

I was talking with my dad about this and he made a good point: tell someone they can't have something and they'll beat themselves to a pulp trying to get it.

Oh yeah, branding works! If newspapers are stupid enough to generate free advertising hype for KK, then let's hope they go out of business since they are obviously not interested in reporting actual news items.

Lord, please deliver us from "lifestyle" reporting!
posted by mark13 at 4:57 PM on April 30, 2002

By evidence of this thread, it's official: Krispy Kreme is the new Starbucks.
posted by dhartung at 5:19 PM on April 30, 2002

As a former online editor at the Strib, I must point out that of those supposed four bylines, two were online staffers. The Strib is one of the few papers that produces original content for its Web site, consistenly ensuring that the site complements the print product and is more up-to-date than any product printed only once a day can possibly be. My guess is that online sent out a reporter (and come on, donuts, who wants to go alone?) to get their own story online before the paper came out, and eventually the story was combined into one piece, with four bylines.

People lining up for four hours at 4 a.m. for anything? That's a story, whether you think the donuts are good or not. I just think the multiple byline thing is not even an issue.
posted by GaelFC at 7:17 PM on April 30, 2002

Metafilterians really like Krispy Kremes. I had one once and it was soggy. I never had another one.

The Krispy Kreme website has really cool t-shirts, and photos of early shops.
posted by iconomy at 8:38 PM on April 30, 2002

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