From Chow in YES! Weekly. The article referred to one of the managing partners as John Hart, but John’s last name is Ward. We apologize for the error.
When Krispy Kreme invites you to a tasting, the answer to whether or not to attend the tasting is obvious. And when the company tells you it’s a tasting of doughnuts AND coffee, well that’s a no-brainer. The food writing business can have its perks (pun intended).
Last week, Krispy Kreme invited all of us lovers and sharers of food (and coffee) to an event they called Cup to Cup…a very unique BlogWorthy Beverages, Baristas and a Bold New Store. Not only were local food writers invited to get an inside look and tour of the new Krispy Kreme in Clemmons, but the purpose was to really show us how Krispy Kreme is looking at changing future models to elevate their coffee and beverage business and make each location more welcoming. Look around the new store and you’ll see soft seating, screens, USB ports, electrical outlets so that you can work or just kick back for a while. The new location has set a goal to be a place of relaxation and fellowship but if you need to get a little work done, you can. And it has the super-fun element of watching the doughnuts being made and seeing them come ‘round on the conveyor. Kids love it and I dare say, adults do too. This newest location is a test model for future Krispy Kreme stores and is the only one like it in the world. For now.
You’d think that coffee and doughnuts go hand and hand, right? We jokingly refer to cops enjoying their coffee and doughnuts on or after their shift. But at Krispy Kreme, that hasn’t been the case, at least not recently. Krispy Kreme Director of Beverage Operations Branan Wagaman says, “We want customers to know that we are more than just a doughnut shop. People walk in and they have doughnut blinders on. They’re not thinking about how a cup of coffee can enhance their experience.” And Krispy Kreme is training their baristas to know which coffee will pair great with a specific doughnut.
Interestingly, this was set up much like a food and wine tasting would be. We were introduced to several coffee beverages, each paired with a popular doughnut. And throughout each “pairing” we tasted the coffee and the doughnut and allowed our senses to take over, smelling the coffee and the doughnut, tasting each and learning how a bold coffee is enhanced by the light and fluffy doughnut that’s been filled with a sweet and fruity raspberry filling or a tart lemon filling for that matter. And how the coffee enhances the doughnut too. We later moved on to pairing #2 to taste how a Valentine’s doughnut can pair nicely with a latte or cappuccino. For pairing #3, A Caramel Mocha (a hot version and a frozen version) and how the world’s favorite, glazed and doughnut holes matches up.
Did we get a little full tasting all of this? Yep. And I literally just had a bite (maybe two) at each course. It’s a tough job, ya’ll.
S & D Coffee, which provides the coffee for Krispy Kreme, has taken whole-hearted approach to educating the company’s employees about coffee. Master roaster, Toby Foreman shared his passion for roasting coffee and finding the best ways to bring out the nuances of the bean. “The bean comes back to life with something dormant to its destined complexities. We want to take the mystique out of coffee. And we want the customer to accentuate that experience and have a conversation with the barista and complement that moment, just like you would with any other culinary experience. My job is to create coffee but you get the sensory experience to create a memory.”
The Clemmons Krispy Kreme is a bustling location. When they’re making doughnuts, they can produce 2,400 dozen glazed doughnuts a day. One Friday evening, at 6:00, the line for the drive-thru was literally wrapped around the building. Managing partner, John Ward, says that’s nothing unusual for them. “You’d think a Krispy Kreme would be busiest from 6-8:00 in the morning and traditionally that has been the case. But my morning business is actually a bit lighter. I’m an afternoon and evening store. After 3:00 we are rocking and rolling. It changed our business model across the country.” He attributes it to the beverage business and said they adapted to the customer’s needs. “People are coming home from work or school, they’re getting a frozen drink, setting up their laptop or picking up doughnuts for dessert and for the next morning’s business.” Ward says the business overall hasn’t changed, it’s just when business happens has changed. “It’s encouraging to me, because this is a test concept for beverage and people are getting doughnuts, but also the coffee. And this doughnut guy is okay with that.” Ward has been with the company for 22 years in various corporate and training positions and jumped on the opportunity to have a vested interest in the business last July as an operating partner (much like Chick Fil-A). The Clemmons location is testing this managing partner concept as well.
The building’s foundation had already been laid when executives with Krispy Kreme got the notion to do something a little different, eliminate what wasn’t working and dive into a fresh approach. Granted, not all Krispy Kreme’s are going to have the beverage program that the Clemmons location offers, but officials are hoping to change that. KK’s Wagaman says, “We’re proving to ourselves that it can be done.”
Wanna go? The new Krispy Kreme is located at 2442 Lewisville-Clemmons Road, Clemmons. krispykreme.com. If you dare, there’s an app for the “hot light” that will tell you where the freshest doughnuts are on the road or activated in your neighborhood.