Holey Wars

Posted on 01. Nov, 2002 by in Uncategorized

We?re looking at a classic match-up here, folks, and the stakes
couldn?t be higher. Think Liston-Clay but a whole lot sweeter?and
glazier. On November 19, the Milford, Connecticut, donut world will
change forever. A brand new Krispy Kreme on Boston Post Road is set to
square off against perennial favorite?and Boston Post Road
neighbor?Dunkin? Donuts. The grand opening is part of Kreme?s master
plan to usurp Dunkin?s worldwide donut hegemony. Kreme first
established itself as a major player on the Connecticut donut scene
with an October 8 opening in Newington. But with the Milford arrival,

Krispy Kreme looks to take one more geographical step toward invading
Dunkin?s birthplace of Quincy, Massachusetts. Donut aficionados will be
carefully watching the Milford battle. At stake is the eventual control
of the New England Market. I talked to a handful of nervous employees
from the two franchises, and though both sides tried to downplay the
significance of November 19, it?s clear: They?re hungry for victory.
Krispy Kreme may have Southern charm on its side, but Dunkin? Donuts
has tradition?not to mention home-field advantage. Connecticut is
Dunkin?s territory. And Bill Rosenberg is the president. Rosenberg,
Dunkin?s founder, was already peddling his tasty dough on Boston Post
Road before Krispy Kreme even thought about selling its first donut in
New Orleans in 1937. Dunkin? has been a New Haven mainstay for
generations. Some of Rosenberg?s first employees were Yale students,
and there are 54 Dunkin? Donuts within a ten mile radius of campus. The
global numbers are even more daunting: Dunkin? Donuts has more than
3,500 shops in the United States, and over 5,000 worldwide. Krispy
Kreme doesn?t even have that many employees.

Kreme may be the statistical underdog, but remember, Dunkin? had a big
head start. It wasn?t until the mid 1980s that Kreme expanded out of
the Southeast. Their fresh go-get-?em swagger gives them an outside
shot at an upset. And then there?s the secret recipe. In 1937, culinary
entrepreneur Vernon Rudolph convinced a gullible French chef to give
him the blueprints for his deliciously addictive yeast-raised donut.
Today, we call this donut the Hot Original Glazed. Just how good is it?
Krispy Kreme annually sells about the same number of doughnuts as its
rival?even though it has 4,750 fewer locations. The things just taste
better.

In terms of raw power, both franchises have a lot to offer. Dunkin?
Donuts has fifty-two varieties of deep-fried goodness, along with some
of the best coffee in town. The total mass of Donuts coffee served in a
given year is equal to more than one million African elephants. The
kids at Kreme may lack this imposing poundage, but they?re a lot
taller. In two minutes, Krispy Kreme can produce a stack of donuts as
high as the Empire State Building.

Dunkin? Donuts has nothing that compares to the Hot Original Glazed.
But Krispy Kreme isn?t overconfident. In fact, a lingering question
remains as to whether or not the Kreme can compete with the
Munchkins?Dunkin?s donut holes. The Donut?s donuts are made by hand,
and for every round donut produced, the excess middle is sold as a
Munchkin. Kreme donuts, meanwhile, are made by pneumatic machines that
mold the dough into the perfect donut shape?sans surplus. Munchkins
have been a versatile weapon for Dunkin? Donuts in the past, and
there?s no reason to think this will change. In fact, Kreme seems to
have a major hole in its game-plan unless it can address the Munchkin
issue.

Expect to see a poised Krispy Kreme coming out of the gates on November
19. At the Grand Opening, there will be magicians and clowns?and what
more can you ask for? A free giveaway? The first customer in line gets
a year?s supply of donuts; the first hundred get a t-shirt. But if
Krispy Kreme wants to be successful in the long run, they?ll have to
convert legions of loyal Dunkin?s patrons.

Tuesday isn?t just another day. It?s a battle between the old and the
new, the established and untried, the champ and the contender. On
February 25, 1964, a 22-year-old Cassius Clay became boxing?s youngest
heavyweight champion when he creamed the venerable Sonny Liston. On
November 19, history just might repeat itself.

Tom Isler is a junior in Branford College.

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