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Krispy Kreme vs. Dunkin Donuts: Who Wins?

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Homer Simpson once pondered: “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?” We could just imagine that every Simpsons viewer momentarily imagined their own favorite glazed and infused donut from their childhood in unison. While the U.S. is packed with mom-and-pop shops and gourmet bakeries offering their own creative spins on this American dessert of fried dough, the two leading mega brands, Dunkin Donuts (b.1950) and Krispy Kreme (b.1937) continue a not-so-sweet duel for the best donut title. So who is the winner?

Before we talk about which donuts taste better, let’s consider each company’s branding. According to Forbes, Dunkin Donuts focuses on coffee–as shown in the company’s logo, while Krispy Kreme focuses on just donuts. This means that Dunkin Brands uses coffee to bring customers into its stores…Krispy Kreme uses donuts to bring customers into its stores.” But as evidenced by the operating margins and profits, DD’s coffee first strategy is superior to the donut first strategy of KK.

Fresh donuts?

Some chocolate chip donuts

Alright, so Dunkin’ Donut’s is more successful financially, but what about the donuts, which are better? Let’s compare how they are both made. DD’s are shipped by truck early in the morning and sit in baskets behind the counter until closing time. Gone are the days of “time to make the donuts!” when the Boston Kremes ran out. As for KK, though they started out with in-store baking, more shops now resort to trucked-in plant-made donuts. Unless you can get to one of its factory locations, with the very appealing “HOT NOW” sign in the window or use their Hot donut app so you’ll know when to show up at your local KK, then maybe we’d give points to KK over DD for the hotness factor.

And the winner is…


As for taste tests, it’s seems everyone has weighed in their opinion and that nobody agrees. Food & Wine’s Noah Justine Sterling has opined that although KKs are known for their light-as-air texture, their sugary, melt-in-your mouth-ness, she prefers to actually chew her donuts. “Dunkin’ Donuts’ glazed doughnuts are doughy and chewy. They’re covered with flaky, sugary glaze that crackles and falls into your mouth. They’re like the people of the Northeast—there’s substance to them.” And while Esquire put Krispy Kreme’s original glazed dead last place in a taste test of many brands, KK came out on top in a taste test by Cheapism.

Who wins? You do. We know that taste and experience is purely subjective and geographical, so whichever brand tugs on your heartstrings most, be loyal to them. If you haven’t tried either, go out now and conduct a taste test of your own. Or simply take a less caloric visual test on BuzzFeed, comparing the two donuts by sight, that’s like food porn for a pregnant lady. Then read the catty comments by the two dueling donut teams for some more heated opinions on the matter. Can’t we all just get along?

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