Doughnuts on the Run

West Dublin was whipped up into doughnut frenzy this week as international doughnut chain Krispy Kreme finally opened its doors in Blanchardstown, bringing a slice of Americana to Dublin’s suburbs. At one stage on the opening day on Wednesday 26th September, up to 30 cars queued at the drive thru.

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Many will remember Dunkin Donuts relatively brief presence in Ireland some years ago, so this isn’t the first foray for an international doughnut brand in this country. It is however the first sizeable operation to set up shop in Ireland with Blanchardstown one of the chain’s largest outlets in Europe.

Located adjacent to Ireland’s largest shopping centre, the outlet seats up to 75 people and boasts a 24 hour drive thru. The company claims that it will create 150 jobs in Ireland across multiple disciplines including retail, logistics, administration and management.

Set up by Vernon Rudolph in the late 1930’s in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Krispy Kreme grew rapidly in the south eastern states throughout the 50’s and 60’s, eventually becoming a nationwide brand. The first outlet outside of the US opened in Canada in 2001. In 2016 the company was purchased for $1.35bn by JAB, the investment vehicle for Germany’s billionaire Reimann family, which continues to build its global coffee empire.

With 1,300 outlets in 31 countries internationally, Ireland is the latest international location for the company, although it has been present in the UK for more than a decade with over 50 outlets.

This is a well marketed brand which has benefited from near iconic status in terms of its celebrity associations. High profile fans include Madonna, Jimmy Carr and Beyonce. Basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal – a franchisee and brand ambassador for the company went so far as to claim Irish heritage this week in a video message to promote the brand’s opening.

A Krispy Kreme doughnut is an unashamed indulgence and exercise in self treating. The company has traditionally excelled in upselling and bulk buy incentives. The doughnuts themselves are slickly merchandised and displayed in signature glass cabinets. Flavours include the classic Original Glazed and others with waistband busting monikers such as Chocolate Dreamcake and Reeses Peanut Butter Kreme. The Krispy Kreme brand design has changed little in the past 80 years with a consistent look and feel that positions itself perfectly as a comfort food.

Pre-launch publicity included a temporary pop up store in Dublin’s South William Street over the weekend of August 10th-12th which featured the Krispy Kreme Hotlight, which lights up when warm donuts are available. Curious passersby and fans alike queued at the hatch to collect a complimentary hot doughnut.

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Some might regard Ireland as a saturated market for doughnuts. In the last few years, several indigenous doughnut chains such as Off Beat, Boston Donuts and Aungier Danger (now closed) have opened outlets in Dublin, joining longstanding sellers such as Rolling Donut in a bid to capture the capitol’s sweet tooth. While the doughnut trend may have peaked in urban centres, coverage further afield however is relatively sparse.

Highly Instagrammable, doughnut makers have taken full advantage of people’s interest in and delight for colour and playfulness in food choices. Doughnut walls have even become a thing recently at weddings as an alternative to a traditional wedding cake (a hole lotta love?). Check out this trend on One Fab Day.

Further information on Krispy Kreme in Ireland is available here.

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