Krispy Kreme Plans Automation

Krispy Kreme doughnut shops, with $100 million annual spend on labor, is looking to reduce that number significantly. 60% of that labor, according to a spokesperson for the company, is post-production work: icing, filling, and adding sprinkles to fresh doughnuts before packing them up.

The company figures that work can be automated.

Next year

Over the next 18 months, Krispy Kreme hopes to automate all these repetitive tasks. They hope to produce 18% of their doughnuts with automated processes, saving $2 million annually.

Describing the switch as “balanced,” the company says this will lead to growth, not to any loss of jobs. The plan is to deliver more doughnuts to more sales outlets, including restaurants, grocers, and convenience stores.

Currently levels of automation fry and flip the doughnuts, but human beings have to pack the pastries and add the sprinkles and fillings.

Here’s more detail from earlier this year:

Krispy Kreme makes its own machinery and keeps it up to date. The new machinery will havre new capacity for frosting, filling, and packing the doughnuts — and don’t forget the sprinkles.

History of Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme started in 1937, selling doughnuts to grocery stores as they still do today — in fact, this is a revenue stream they want to increase.

However, passersby smelled the delicious scent of frying doughnuts and asked if they could buy the delicacies directly. The owner, Vernon Rudolph, cut a hole in the outside wall and sold doughnuts directly to end customers.

Rudolph had bought a secret recipe for doughnuts from a New Orleans chef. Rumor has it that the original recipe included potatoes, an ingredient known to create tender breads. The recipe made a yeast-raised doughnut, the old fashioned kind.

In the 1950s, Rudolph automated the process. Each store in the chain was using the same recipe, but the results were all slightly different when the doughnut production was done by hand. Rudolph created a mix to standardize the recipe and built machinery to standardize the process.

The new machines will take the basic doughnuts — the original glazed — and add the special touches that give the doughnuts their special flavors and characters.

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