‘If people don’t want to visit a donut shop, they don’t have to’

Krispy Kreme, which announced plans this week to give a free donut to everyone who receives a free COVID-19 injection, is defending itself against some naysayers who think the gift could have unintended consequences.

The donut chain’s well-intentioned (and literally sweet) incentive sparked a social media backlash, with everyone from doctors to comedians pointing out that obesity, which is rampant in the US, is also a category. main risk for coronavirus. Plus, there’s a history of big brands offering generous specials that end up being costly mistakes.

However, CEO Mike Tattersfield defended his company’s intentions in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live on Friday. “We are a candy company [and] if people don’t want to visit a donut shop, they don’t have to. “

Refuting the growing criticism, Tattersfield added that if “people who want to get a vaccine, if they decide to combine a Krispy Kreme truck [for] a donut, they can. This is how we see it … generosity. “

Last March, Krispy Kreme launched a similar initiative in response to the pandemic. It allowed all healthcare workers to receive a free dozen of its original glazed donut. Tattersfield says the initiatives have been well received by the community.

‘We pay the bill’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 17: People line up in front of the Krispy Kreme in Times Square amid the coronavirus pandemic on March 17, 2021 in New York City. After undergoing several closure orders over the past 12 months, the city is currently in phase 4 of its reopening plan, allowing for the reopening of low-risk outdoor activities, film and television productions, dining interiors and the opening of cinemas, all with capacity restrictions. (Photo by Noam Galai / Getty Images)

“I leave a lot of donuts to the health system. They are very grateful, given the days they have to work … people are always looking for a little break. It’s okay,” he said.

These initiatives are just a few of those offered by Krispy Kreme, raising the question of whether the company is giving away more than it is receiving.

However, Tattersfield insisted that the giveaways are attracting more customers than anticipated to his stores. In 2020, Krispy Kreme’s same-store sales surged amid the pandemic: Although closures slowed foot traffic, those losses have been largely offset by hungry shoppers looking for bargains. That momentum has continued this year, the CEO said.

“Last year, we gave away 30 million donuts … we didn’t go into the year thinking we were going to make 30 million donuts as gifts.”

However, “our franchisees have been great partners with us and have also benefited along the way,” Tattersfield added. As for who pays the bill to reconcile that, corporate headquarters does.

“We have always raised funds and had some kind of giving back to the community. Most of the United States is a company-owned system, so we pay the bill,” he explained.

In the meantime, Tattersfield is confident that these generous incentives will not spoil the company’s bottom line, as some other brands have found themselves on the wrong side of gifts. Krispy Kreme doesn’t carry any insurance for too many gifts, he said.

And the business may be headed for an even bigger year in sales if customers are lured in by the prospect of a free donut every day of the year.

According to Tattersfiled’s logic, some healthcare workers will come and “ask for five dozen donuts, or ten dozen donuts even sometimes. However, eventually, they will” start paying for it themselves. “

None of the donut chain sponsors are trying to “beat the system or anything like that,” the CEO said. “We just focus on doing the generosity. That’s Krispy Kreme.”

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email him at [email protected]


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