Wednesday, September 07, 2005

KRISPY KREME IS SINKING FAST

It wasn't all that long ago that Krispy Kreme donuts came to Canada and were all the rage. They opened their first store in Mississauga to huge crowds. I'd go by there and see big lineups and people waiting outside trying to get in to buy donuts. The stores opened way back during the 2002 leadership race in Ontario as I recall; I remembered Bob Dechert (who later ran and lost to bigmouthed anti-American Carolyn Parrish) used to bring a huge carton full of Krispy Kreme donuts to the campaign office for people to eat, after standing in line for hours in Mississauga waiting to buy them. Of course, our office usually brought in truckloads of Tim Hortons products the rest of the week, but Krispy Kremes were something we had to go out of our way to get.

Well, the company that runs the Krispy Kreme franchise in Canada has declared bankruptcy and most of their stores are now kaput. The lineups for Krispy Kreme donuts vanished overnight. A lot of people are blaming the anti-carb trends and the famous Atkins Diet. (As you know, the Atkins Diet did a lot of good for Atkins: he died.)

But that doesn't explain why Tim Hortons and Country Style Donuts are all over Ontario while Krispy Kreme is going belly-up. The Atkins Diet did nothing to dent them. They're still here.

What's really mind-boggling is that Krispy Kreme has a great product. Their glazed donuts are terrific, among the best I ever tasted! This is common consensus, the donuts are great. Maybe the problem was their prices were too high for a donut shop. And this being Canada, no one is going to pay top dollar to eat gourmet donuts or pay extra for anything good. They'd rather pay cheap for a mediocre donut than pay top dollar for quality. That's why Krispy Kreme is going out of business here; they forget, this is Canada.

Besides, Canada is absolutely overrun with donut places. Tim Hortons is EVERYWHERE. In fact, it must be company policy to have a Tim Hortons located within walking distance of every living Canadian, that's what it seems like. There seems to be a Hortons on every streetcorner. So obviously that was why Krispy Kreme was run out of Canada. Nobody was going to get in a car and travel anywhere to find a Krispy Kreme when they could simply walk down the street a couple of blocks to Tim Hortons.

To sum up Canada for outsiders, you have to know it has three distinguishing characteristics: hockey, the Mounties, and donuts. That's basically Canada for you, and if you go to any donut shop in Canada you're bound to see plenty of Mounties and other police officers. And oh yeah, Tim Horton once played for the Leafs. Case closed!

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