McDonald’s will sell Krispy Kreme donuts nationwide by the end of 2026.

McDonald’s will sell Krispy Kreme donuts nationwide by the end of 2026.
McDonald’s will sell Krispy Kreme donuts nationwide by the end of 2026.

McDonald’s plans to sell Krispy Kreme donuts in its restaurants nationwide by the end of 2026, the chains announced Tuesday.

Distribution will begin in the second half of this year, but will take approximately two and a half years as Krispy Kreme doubles its distribution to accommodate the partnership. For the term of the agreement, McDonald’s will be the exclusive fast food partner for Krispy Kreme in the US

Shares of Krispy Kreme jumped nearly 20% in premarket trading Tuesday following the announcement.

The donut chain uses a «hub and spoke» model that allows it to make and distribute its treats efficiently. Production centers, which are either stores or donut factories, ship freshly made donuts daily to retail locations such as grocery stores and gas stations.

The partnership with McDonald’s is a big opportunity for Krispy Kreme to expand its reach. It ships its donuts to 6,800 third-party stores as of Dec. 31. McDonald’s has approximately 13,500 restaurants in the U.S. and plans to open 900 new locations nationwide until 2027

«We think we can serve about 6,000 restaurants with our existing infrastructure, mostly donut shops that have excess capacity,» Krispy Kreme CEO Josh Charlesworth told CNBC.

Krispy Kreme is also expanding its capacity to deliver fresh donuts to the roughly 7,500 McDonald’s restaurants it currently can’t reach.

Although McDonald’s is the main reason the company is expanding its distribution so quickly, Charlesworth said Krispy Kreme will also use the opportunity to land in grocery and convenience stores that prefer national suppliers.

«This means that the overall efficiency and productivity of our distribution network will improve significantly over time, not just because of all this local supply,» he said.

Plus, Krispy Kreme donut shops typically make more of the sweet treat than the chain can sell. The additional demand from McDonald’s and other new customers means its production lines can produce more volume at little additional cost.

«So overall, it makes our system more profitable to grow the daily fresh delivery channel, and McDonald’s is an accelerator of that,» Charlesworth said.

The relationship between the two chains began about a year and a half ago when McDonald’s began selling Krispy Kreme donuts in nine restaurants as a test. Months later, the pilot expanded to about 160 restaurants in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky. Those original restaurants will continue to sell the donuts during the national rollout.

Demand from McDonald’s customers during the tests exceeded both chains’ expectations, according to Charlesworth.

For McDonald’s, the addition of Krispy Kreme donuts helps strengthen its bakery and breakfast offerings. The burger chain banked on coffee, a common drink paired with donuts, but cut other bakeries like cinnamon rolls from its menu.

McDonald’s customers will be able to order the original glazed donuts with chocolate glaze and chocolate ice cream filling, individually or in packs of six. Restaurants will be selling donuts all day.

In the long term, Krispy Kreme now expects it can reach more than 100,000 access points for its donuts globally, up from its previous outlook of 75,000 locations. The chain’s donuts can currently be found in more than 14,100 stores in 39 countries.

Shares of Krispy Kreme have fallen 20% in the past year, reducing its market value to $2.11 billion. As hype around weight-loss drugs like Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic has soared, investors have worried whether the treatments will cut into Krispy Kreme’s future sales.

Similar concerns have weighed on McDonald’s, although its shares have risen 2 percent over the past year as consumers ditched cheap food and drinks. The company has a market value of $201 billion.

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