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Why McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme Are Teaming Up

In an unusual partnership—America’s biggest fast-casual burger franchise is teaming up with the fan-favorite doughnut shop Krispy Kreme.

By Jeff DwyerStaff Writer
10:10AM 05/03/23

McDonald’s breakfast items are incredibly popular. From its Egg McMuffins to its crispy hashbrowns, there’s a lot to love. But the iconic restaurant chain is switching things up for a limited time and is partnering with fan-favorite Krispy Kreme to offer donuts to its loyal customer base.

Krispy Kreme announced the temporary partnership in a press release on its investor page last month. That release states the brands are running a market test, officially starting on March 21, and will be making Krispy Kreme doughnuts available at roughly 160 Kentucky-based McDonald’s locations. Specifically, the partnership can be seen in places such as Louisville, Lexington and surrounding areas.  

“We’re always looking for ways to get our customers more access to the fresh doughnuts they crave,” Krispy Kreme said in a statement on its website. “We are thrilled that during this expanded test, our fans will be able to satisfy their sweet tooth at participating McDonald’s locations.”

Customers who visit one of the participating locations will have access to the original glazed doughnut, the chocolate iced with sprinkled doughnut and the chocolate iced Kreme-filled doughnut. The doughnuts will be available all day and can be ordered in person, at the drive-thru, on the McDonald’s app and for delivery. However, it’s important to note that the doughnuts will only be available for a limited time, while supplies last.

But Why?

At face value, it may seem like a strange partnership, but it actually isn’t that unusual. In fact, Krispy Kreme and McDonald’s teamed up in October of 2022 for a similar promotion. McDonald’s sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts in nine of its stores in Louisville, Kentucky. This year’s promotion is just an extension of that.

Breakfast has always been a profitable market for McDonald’s, as it’s estimated to make up approximately 25% of the restaurant’s U.S. sales. McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Christopher Kempczinski has even called breakfast “the most time-sensitive convenience-oriented part” of a customer’s day.

There’s speculation that McDonald’s may be planning to outsource all of its breakfast pastries in the future. As for the upcoming market test, McDonald’s press team says it will allow the brands to learn more about their operational impact on a larger scale and give them an opportunity to explore customer demand for fresh doughnuts.

“McDonald’s is always looking for ways to give our fans more of what they crave, and we often conduct tests to inform future menu decisions,” McDonald’s corporate said in a statement. “This small-scale test will help us understand how offering new bakery items like Krispy Kreme could impact operations in our restaurants.”

If the promotion generates enough sales, the partnership could potentially expand to more locations in the future. No matter which way you look at it, if you live in Kentucky, there’s no better time than now to enjoy a McCafé with a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut.