McDonald’s Announces Major Partnership With Krispy Kreme

A major partnership in the fast food industry was announced recently, one that will bring a sweet new treat to one of the most popular chains in the world.

On Tuesday, McDonald’s announced that it would start selling donuts from Krispy Kreme at some of its locations this year. By the end of 2026, all of its restaurants will sell the popular baked goods, as part of a phased rollout plan.

Krispy Kreme is set to deliver three of its donut varieties to McDonald’s locations every morning. They will be traditional glazed, chocolate iced with cream filling and chocolate iced with sprinkles.

Customers will be able to buy individual donuts or a box that includes six.

This rollout partnership will start in the second half of this year. This comes after the two companies tested out the partnership at 160 McDonald’s locations in Indiana and Kentucky last year.

Speaking with CNBC recently, Josh Charlesworth, the CEO of Krispy Kreme, said customer demand for the donuts exceeded the expectations of both companies.

The partnership is expected to help McDonald’s boost sales of coffee and breakfast foods at a time when the company is stepping up its efforts to compete with Dunkin’ and Starbucks in the iced and hot coffee drinks space.

For Krispy Kreme, this new partnership will significantly expand its footprint throughout the U.S. The chain has 377 locations currently, with most of them located in the South and in California.

McDonald’s, meanwhile, has roughly 13,500 locations throughout the U.S., and about 95% of them are operated by independent franchisees. The companies said that this deal with double the number of locations where consumers will be able to buy Krispy Kreme’s products in the U.S.

Each individual franchise owner will decide whether they will offer Krispy Kreme donuts at their locations.

In a statement released Tuesday, Charlesworth said:

“The top request we receive from consumers every day is, ‘please bring Krispy Kreme to my town.’”

This partnership continues the revamp of McDonald’s breakfast menu. Last year, the chain discontinued selling apple fritters and blueberry muffins. They were launched in late 2002 as part of the McCafe Bakery offerings, but interest in them waned over the following few years.

Earlier this year, a new chain called CosMc’s was launched by McDonald’s to focus on coffee and similar drinks in a direct challenge to Dunkin’ and Starbucks.

By adding donuts from Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s now has “a chance to unlock new business opportunities in the breakfast category and throughout the day,” McDonald’s USA’s chief marketing officer, Tariq Hassan, said in a statement.

This isn’t the first major partnership in the fast food industry between one business known for savory food and another known for sweet food.

Pizza Hut started selling mini rolls branded as Cinnabon in 2018. And just last month, Wendy’s said it is selling Cinnabon treats across the country as well.