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McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme have announced a partnership that will see the popular doughnuts available at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide by the end of 2026. The rollout will begin in the second half of the year and is expected to take about two and a half years to complete as Krispy Kreme expands its distribution network. During this time, McDonald’s will be the exclusive fast-food partner for Krispy Kreme in the U.S. The doughnut chain uses a “hub and spoke” model to efficiently produce and distribute its treats to various retail locations.

This partnership presents a significant opportunity for Krispy Kreme to expand its reach, as McDonald’s has roughly 13,500 restaurants in the U.S. and plans to open 900 new locations by 2027. Krispy Kreme CEO Josh Charlesworth stated that they plan to service about 6,000 of those restaurants using their existing infrastructure, including doughnut shops. The company has been working on expanding its capacity to reach the additional 7,500 McDonald’s restaurants that it can’t currently supply. This expansion will also allow Krispy Kreme to enter grocery and convenience stores that prefer national suppliers, improving overall efficiency of its distribution network.

The relationship between McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme began about a year and a half ago with a test run of Krispy Kreme doughnuts at nine McDonald’s locations. The success of this initial test led to an expansion across Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, covering roughly 160 restaurants. The demand from McDonald’s customers during these tests exceeded expectations and contributed to the decision to expand the partnership nationwide. For McDonald’s, adding Krispy Kreme doughnuts to its menu enhances its bakery and breakfast offerings, creating a new revenue stream for the restaurant chain.

McDonald’s customers will have the choice of ordering original glazed, chocolate iced with sprinkles, and chocolate iced cream-filled doughnuts, either individually or in packs of six. These offerings will be available all day in McDonald’s restaurants. Krispy Kreme also expects to expand its global reach, aiming to have more than 100,000 points of access for its doughnuts worldwide, up from its previous goal of 75,000 locations. The chain’s doughnuts are currently sold in over 14,100 stores across 39 countries.

While Krispy Kreme’s shares have fallen 20% over the past year due to concerns about competition from weight loss drugs like Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic, McDonald’s stock has risen 2% as consumers opt for its affordable food and drinks. Despite these challenges, the partnership between McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme presents an opportunity for both chains to grow their businesses and reach new customers. The collaboration marks a strategic move for both companies as they navigate changing consumer preferences and market dynamics.

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