Sept. 10--Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. debuts its hot-now delicacies in Russia on Thursday at its first shop in Moscow.
The company announced plans in April 2012 to open 40 shops over five years in the country through Russian restaurateur and franchise partner Arkady Novikov, owner and operator of LLC Doughnuts Cafe.
When the shop opens, it will expand Krispy Kreme's international reach to 22 countries.
"With their vast knowledge of the appetites and attitudes of Muscovites, and proven track record of success, it is our hope that our beloved brand will become an integral part of Moscow's culture for many years to come," Jeff Welch, president of Krispy Kreme's international division, said in a statement Tuesday.
Novikov said in a statement that he chose to become a franchisee in part because he was "very inspired" by the doughnuts when he tried them during a trip to London."
"We believe Krispy Kreme's premium products and one-of-a-kind experience will quickly become a favorite of Muscovites," Novikov said.
The 3,229-square-foot store is on Nikolskaya Street, just behind Moscow's Gum Shopping Arcade and Red Square, a popular destination for tourists and shoppers.
Russia becomes just the third European country for Krispy Kreme besides England and Scotland, which the company lists as the United Kingdom.
Counting the United States, Krispy Kreme has franchisee shops in 22 international markets: Australia, Bahrain, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The company also has a franchisee in Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth. It is pursuing a franchisee in Brazil and other Central and South America countries.
The international strategy could be pivotal because the jobs of its 3,900 employees, including 408 in Winston-Salem and an additional 102 elsewhere in the Triad, are riding on Krispy Kreme's ability to make its doughnuts a regular choice rather than an occasional treat in international markets.
Welch said the company has more than 540 international shops. Overall, Krispy Kreme has set a goal of 900 international stores by the end of fiscal 2017.
The main concern expressed by analysts since Krispy Kreme's return to profitability in 2011 has been whether current management can avoid previous management's mistake of expanding beyond its ability to handle growth.
Jim Morgan, the company's chairman, chief executive and president, said at its annual shareholder meeting in June that it plans to expand domestic shops by 68 percent over the next four years, from 240 to more than 400.