Krispy Kreme talks Canadian expansion plans and future locations

May 8 2023, 6:32 pm

Last month, we shared that Krispy Kreme would be launching new Cookie Blast donuts at all Canadian locations.

Now, the brand is revealing even more exciting news involving a huge expansion and new concepts across the country.

Dished spoke with Levi Hetrick, the brand’s chief growth officer & operating partner, via email about why many of the Canadian Krispy Kreme locations disappeared, expanding operations across all major Canadian markets, and its new Hot Light Theatre Shop.

Krispy Kreme’s “Hot Light Theatre Shop”

“Our business is built on serving doughnuts that are made fresh every day, so we must first establish a local production facility to open a new market,” says Hetrick.

“This production facility is ideally a Hot Light Theatre Shop with a drive-thru exactly as you would see in Mississauga, Greenfield Park, or Quebec City today.”

Krispy Kreme is currently designing a brand new Hot Light Theatre Shop prototype that will first launch in Winnipeg.

It will be like the other Theatre Shops located in Mississauga, Greenfield Park, and Quebec City, but more modern and state-of-the-art, we’re told.

But what exactly are these Hot Light Theatre Shops? Hetrick went into detail on the exciting new concept for the iconic donut chain.

“The aesthetic is a fun, clean, industrial baking space that allows guests to watch the magic of fresh Original Glazed doughnuts coming down the production line (and, when they choose, eat one while they are still hot!),” he tells Dished.

“We know that some of our guests like to stay and enjoy their doughnuts in the shop and others want to get in and get out to go share a dozen with friends, family, or co-workers, so we have tried to design the building and dining area to accommodate all of those different use cases.”

The team will be going for a consistent look and feel with this new concept but with localized elements.

Canadian expansion plans

Hetrick also went into detail about the expansion plans, including where and when to expect these first stores.

“Given the significant investment required to establish a Hot Light Theatre Shop and the capacity of doughnuts each of those shops is able to produce, we are not looking to open one in every city across the country,” says Hetrick.

“That said, there is significant whitespace/growth potential in major metro areas. We have confirmed deals in Toronto, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, are actively working on deals in Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, and the broader GTA, and working with brokers in Vancouver and Atlantic Canada to find suitable real estate.”

“Across all of Canada there is potential for at least 20 Hot Light Theatre Shops. We are being opportunistic in our real estate search to ensure we are identifying optimal sites for each market and not settling for second-tier sites given we aren’t looking to open many Theatre Shops,” he adds.

“Rise and retreat” in the Canadian market

Hetrick also touched on the rise and retreat of the company in Canada and how it follows the story of the brand in general.

“When the first international shop opened in Mississauga in 2001, the brand was experiencing significant growth all over the globe and the early success of the new shops fueled that push for rapid expansion,” Hetrick says.

“As the brand became more ubiquitous, demand did not keep pace and a variety of poor management decisions led to the company not being profitable/viable. After having grown to 17 Theatre Shop locations across Canada, by 2008 the number of shops was reduced to three – Mississauga, Greenfield Park, and Quebec City (all of which are still in operation today).”

“Through 2021 the company added six Doughnut CafĂ© locations – four in Toronto, two in Montreal – and an additional Theatre Shop in Scarborough. As I mentioned, in 2021 the partnership was established with Krispy Kreme Inc. which was predicated on growing the brand in Canada,” he continues.

Krispy Kreme is looking to expand while staying mindful of what happened with the brand in the past. The team is cautiously balancing increasing access without being available on every street corner or in every grocery outlet.

“Enjoying or sharing a Krispy Kreme doughnut should always be a special experience that brings joy and our goal is to add locations in such a way that we maintain that,” says Hetrick.

As always, we’ll keep you posted as new locations are announced across Canada.

Stay tuned!

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