What is the Original Krispy Kreme Donut

Today we are going to talk all about what is the original Krispy Kreme donut? Krispy Kreme always elicits a sort of nostalgia in my life. Growing up I was active in scouts. I participated in countless service projects that all had one thing in common, if the project took place in the evening, we were served Little Caesars. If we were scouting in the morning, then the reward was Krispy Kreme. They always seemed to overestimate the amount of donuts actually needed at these events, and there were always plenty of donuts to go around.

Finally, as I pulled into the drive through, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself as I remembered a particular activity where I was dared to eat a dozen Krispy Kremes on my own. I proudly downed 13. Now, I know that Krispy Kreme can be polarizing. People seem to love it or hate it. The beautiful thing about today’s episode is that you don’t have to love Krispy Kreme to enjoy its history.

What is the Original Krispy Kreme Donut: Paducah Kentucky

The story starts in 1933 in Paducah, Kentucky. Ishmael Rudolph owned a small general store that served a variety of goods. His nephews Vernon and Lewis Rudolph began working for him selling his ever popular donuts. The origin of the recipe is up for debate. However, the consensus seems to be that the recipe was purchased from a French chef in New Orleans. The recipe was a yeast raised donut recipe. The donuts were a big success. 

During the Great Depression, the general store struggled. Ishmael and Vernon moved to Nashville to continue selling their donuts. They thought the larger city would bring more business their way. 

Finally, in 1937 Vernon decided to strike out on his own. He moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and began supplying donuts to local grocery stores. People passing by on the street could smell the donuts. However, it didn’t take long for people to start begging Vernon to sell them some donuts. Furthermore, Vernon didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. He literally cut a hole in the side of his building so that he would have a window to sell donuts to people on the sidewalk.

40s and 50s: Expansion and the Need for Consistency

People went crazy for these donuts and popularity soared. Furthermore, the 40s and 50s brought enough success to support a small chain of donut shops. However, like any restaurant that starts to expand, they struggled with consistency. Each shop followed the same recipe. However, they were made from scratch using different equipment from each other. They created a mix plant. This allowed them to mix massive batches of dry ingredients together. Furthermore, now each store could use the same dry mix. Just like that, consistency improved, and the magical donut conveyer belt was born.

60s and 70s: Unified Stores

Now that they fixed the consistency problems with their recipe, the company focused on a consistent look across their stores. During the 60s and 70s, each store began to sport the same iconic green tile roofs and the heritage road signs. However, 1973 brought another challenge for Krispy Kreme when their founder, Vernon Rudolph, died. The company was then sold to Beatrice Foods Company in 1976.

Rapid Expansion

Krispy Kreme began another chapter of their history. In the early 2000s, they rapidly expanded. The company went public on April 5, 2000. They quickly ballooned to over 400 stores. For a few years things couldn’t be better. However, by 2005 the stock had plummeted and the company began to close their less profitable locations. Furthermore, analysts felt that the chain had expanded too quickly and had too many stores in various markets. In 2016 the company returned to private ownership. 

Where Things Are Today

I remember this phase of rapid growth. Several Krispy Kreme locations opened up near me. However, after a few years, only one location remained, and it wasn’t super close. However, I am happy that we finally have a location close by again. There is something magical about walking in and being smacked in the face with that heavenly aroma. It’s hypnotic watching the endless line of donuts march toward the cascading waterfall of delicious glaze. Finally, I get lost for a moment and almost forget why I’m there in the first place. 

Interesting Flavors

Over the years Krispy Kreme has released many seasonal flavors in different markets. In 2007, the chain tried to get in on the health craze by releasing a whole wheat donut. That’s right, a whole wheat donut. That gave me shivers.

An interesting flavor I would have loved to try was released in 2010, and it was inspired by the southern soda, Cheerwine. It was sold in stores in North and South Carolina during July that year. Furthermore, they were so popular that the store in Salisbury, North Carolina continued to sell them after July 31. Salisbury is where Cheerwine is produced. The donut had an encore performance in July of 2011. I personally love Cheerwine and would love to try this donut. 

Fun Facts About Krispy Kreme

Finally, I’m going to wrap up today’s episode about what is the original Krispy Kreme donut with some fun facts about Krispy Kreme.

  1. Vernon moved his operation to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, but do you know why? Apparently the move was inspired by his favorite cigarette brand, Camel. They were based out of Winston-Salem. Vernon thought that if they could be successful there, so could he.
  2. Krispy Kreme donuts might contain potato. The secret recipe is locked up at headquarters. However, food historians believe that it is possible that mashed potatoes are the secret ingredient. 
  3. At one point Krispy Kreme sold pizza. Why not, right? They were pretty successful with it too. Today they stick to donuts and coffee. 
  4. Their original logo has been referred to as the bowtie. It was trademarked in 1955 and was designed by architect Benny Dinkins.
  5. In 1992, the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign was installed. This let anyone driving by know that they will be rewarded with something warm and delicious if they stopped in. Today you can just look at their app to know when donuts are hot from the fryer. 
  6. In certain markets, unsold donuts aren’t thrown out. Instead they are turned into pig feed. Fascinating! 
  7. Today Krispy Kreme has over 1,400 locations.
  8. Finally, Each store will make an average of 20 million donuts each year. 

Did You Like Learning About Krispy Kreme?

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What is the Original Krispy Kreme Donut?
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