Don’t worry, this is not going to drag you through a curriculum study of how to manage a Krispy Kreme doughnut store after you’ve attended Krispy Kreme University in Winston-Salem, NC for some serious learnings. It’s more of way to ease you into the Krispy Kreme mix plant that sits where it all began in the 1940’s in that same North Carolina city.
Our franchise group of three partners in Texas, riding the trail under the name Glazing Saddles, believes in doing everything in our power to constantly improve the qualities found in our people, products, physical buildings, and even our trucks to make our customer experience the best to be encountered in any food service business. Glazing Saddles operates eight stores in Texas with two more now under construction to be opening this year. Krispy Kreme corporate are opening things, too, as they’ve just cranked up a new store management school called KKU in Winston-Salem where some very serious store management training is taking place. We are sending our GM’s and AGM’s from Texas to this school and the results have been extremely strong.
The school is great but to me the real education is coming face-to-face with our mix plant on Ivy Avenue in W-S where 10’s of thousands of bags of Krispy Kreme doughnut mix flow through monthly then shipped out to Krispy Kreme stores all over the United States. A couple of months ago we sent our first two GM’s to the school and discovered that the week-long course didn’t include a cross-town field trip to the almost 60 year old mix plant. I called the head of KKU and asked if I could personally take our 2 GM’s out of class on the last day of school for an hour-long tour of the mix plant. The school master was extremely helpful and arranged the whole thing within hours. By the time I arrived at KKU on Friday to pick up our GM’s, all franchisee GM’s in the class had asked if they could go, too. So, we had a crowd going through “Ivy Avenue” as we call the mix plant, and now KKU has made the field trip a part of it’s regular curriculum! Our tour guide that day was none other than the plant manager so we had a super tour!
What makes this story so important is not just how incredible the mix plant is, what’s equally important is that the plant is a very strong and powerful thread in the texture of our heritage. When you see the strung together structure from the outside you can easily detect where it’s been expanded 7 times since opening in 1947. And when you see what happens inside you’ll never again think of a Krispy Kreme doughnut as “just a simple doughnut.” In short, it’s a very complicated thing, our mix plant, and the tedious work that goes into a bag of mix will have you shaking your head in disbelief. For example, a brigade of tanker trucks, each filled with 45,000 pound loads of flour, are lined up on Ivy Avenue every morning to unload. The lab pulls a core sample from every truck to be lab tested to meet our standards before unloading. Fail the test? The truck takes the flour back to its mill.
Well, I said up top that I wasn’t going to drag you through a curriculum study and so to, I’m not going to detail out a trip through our mix plant…it would take a book of blogs to accomplish that anyway. I will say that after you go through the plant and see the quality control – driven by a desire for perfection really – that oversees the making of our mix, that the very next time you bite into a hot glazed, yeast-raised Krispy Kreme doughnut you will know why it tastes the way it does.
And speaking of “bite”, there is even a little machine in our lab that measures the pleasant resistance you experience when you take that bite so that our doughnuts always feel as good as they taste. How ’bout that for details?
See you in class.