This is going to sound bizarre, especially coming from me, but … Everything you need to know about success you can learn at the doughnut shop. As long as the doughnut shop is a Krispy Kreme. In their book, Making Dough, authors Kirk Kazanjian and Amy Joyner chronicle one of the truly great success stories in American business history.
Krispy Kreme began in 1937, when Vernon Rudolph made his first glazed doughnut in Old Salem, North Carolina. From that humble beginning, Krispy Kreme became a national phenomenon that has expanded around the world. They have over 1,000 Krispy Kreme doughnut shops in America, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, India, Panama, Russia, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, United Emirates and many more countries. Krispy Kreme has become one of the most successful businesses of all time.
What’s their secret? There isn’t just one, and there’s a whole lot more to it than having the most delicious doughnut on the planet. Several years ago, I read Making Dough and became instantly intrigued by what we could learn about Krispy Kreme’s success and how it could help us as a church. When I finished the book I knew there was one thing I absolutely had to do: I had to take our staff to Krispy Kreme.
You couldn’t have choreographed a better experience. At our staff meeting, I had everyone divide up into teams of four. Each team was given a pad of paper and an assignment of selecting a spokesperson. Then, we all went to Krispy Kreme for breakfast. I told our staff all I wanted them to do was eat breakfast and observe what they experienced at Krispy Kreme. On the way back to our offices, they were to write down their observations and then, share them with the rest of our staff when we got back.
We’d barely walked in the door when the “experience” began. One of the ladies at the counter began offering hot glazed doughnuts to every member of our staff. (Even though we had come in to buy doughnuts of our own.) We were there for about 25 minutes and had a wonderful breakfast. When our staff reassembled back on our church campus, one by one, animated spokespersons shared each team’s observations.
They were impressed by the “free doughnuts,” how everyone worked as a team, how you could watch the actual “making” of the doughnuts, how the Krispy Kreme logo was predominant everywhere and on everything, the friendliness of the staff, and more. One employee asked if we wanted to hear about the history of Krispy Kreme, which we did, even though she shared what might’ve been construed as mildly negative comments about a sister store in Houston that didn’t give out free doughnuts. After each team shared observations, I asked how many would go back. It was unanimous! Everyone, including those who had experienced a negative impression or two, were willing, even anxious, to go back.
I asked our staff, “How many of you think there are people who come to our church on the weekend and do to us what we just did to Krispy Kreme?” You could’ve heard an ant crawl across the floor. If the truth were known, that scenario happens every week … in virtually every church in America. And here’s the dilemma: Krispy Kreme has an unprecedented percentage of people coming back again and again. The church, on the other hand, even the best ones there are, struggles week after week to get people coming back again and again.
So what are some of the things we could learn from the doughnut shop? Krispy Kreme has a simple mission: to have the best doughnut in the world. They are absolutely committed to doing one thing and doing it well. They are relentless when it comes to screening and picking only the most qualified people to own and manage franchises, even when it comes to employees. They maintain the highest standards and refuse to compromise when it comes to strict training regimens everyone must go through. They make the doughnut-making enterprise an entertaining experience intending for you not only to watch, but to also become involved in it. Although the light that says “hot doughnuts now” (Or “hot Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnuts now” - need to pick which sign) is only on twice a day (during peak periods for customers) most stores operate at full steam around the clock. They want to help make enjoyable memories for you every time you have one of their doughnuts.
“I asked how many would go back. It was unanimous!”
One more thing . . . Krispy Kreme doesn’t advertise.
Following our breakfast, I gave a copy of the book, Making Dough, to each member of our staff so they could read it over the next two weeks. When we came together again to discuss it, I was surprised at the insights and lessons they’d uncovered from both the breakfast and the book and how it applied to what they are doing in ministry. It was a positive experience for all of us. In fact, I need to take our current staff to Krispy Kreme for further research in the near future.
One last thing: everyone knows doughnuts really aren’t good for any of us. Which makes the success of Krispy Kreme even more mind-boggling. Wonder how much more successful the church could be, in reaching people and getting them to come back again and again, if we would take the time to learn a few things from our friends at Krispy Kreme?
They have obviously done a lot of things right.
Add the fact the Church of the Lord, JESUS CHRIST, has what the whole world desperately needs … and it’s good for all of us ... and you’ve got a recipe for sweet success!
© 2021. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.