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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Krispy Kreme coming to town

The US chain will open its first shop along Orchard Road in March next year.
The Straits Times - October 6, 2012
By: Melissa Lin
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Krispy Kreme coming to town Doughnut chain Krispy Kreme, known for its original glazed doughnuts (above), plans to open 15 outlets in Singapore. -- ST PHOTOS: FRANCIS CHAN

FANS of Krispy Kreme will be able to sink their teeth into the brand's signature original glazed doughnuts - and other varieties - in March next year, when the American chain's first outlet in Singapore opens along the Orchard Road shopping belt. It will be the first of 15 outlets here over the next five years.

Proposed locations for the other stores include Changi Airport, Shenton Way and the Marina Bay area, said Mr Andy Chaw, chief executive of local company Star360 Group that is bringing the franchise here. The stores will not be in the heartland for at least the first two years, he added.

He declined to reveal how much the franchise licence costs, but said that it is a "sizeable investment" as he will be importing doughnut-making machines as well as ingredients from the United States.

The company has recruited some staff who will be sent to Krispy Kreme's headquarters in North Carolina for marketing and store operations training, as well as lessons in how to make doughnuts.

"Now, we just need to finalise the locations, set up the central kitchen and do a test run, and we are good to go," said Mr Chaw.

This is his first foray into the food and beverage industry. Star360 operates apparel retail stores and distributes sportswear brands, including Japanese labels Asics and Onitsuka Tiger, through more than 4,000 points-of-sale in Asia.

Mr Chaw, a Krispy Kreme fan, has wanted to go into the F&B business for a long time. The idea first came to him when he was in Japan in December 2006. He was impressed by the long queues at the first Krispy Kreme outlet in Shinjuku.

"I believe that Japan has one of the highest standards for food. If you can make it in Japan, you can make it anywhere," said Mr Chaw.

But at that time, he was too busy with work, and the idea did not take flight.

One evening last year, he was struck by a craving for Krispy Kreme doughnuts; he decided to send the doughnut chain an e-mail with his company's information and plans to operate a chain of franchise outlets in Singapore.

They replied a month later, flew here to interview him and agreed to a partnership with him.

On Thursday, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts announced that it had signed a deal with Star360.

Krispy Kreme, which was founded in 1937, sells doughnuts in more than 700 locations in 21 countries, including Malaysia and Thailand.

Singaporeans have been known to bring back boxes of the sweet treats from overseas, and Mr Chaw is no exception. He would buy "a few dozen" to bring back home. His love for the "very addictive" doughnuts is one of the reasons why he chose to bring the brand here.

The 45-year-old, who was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Rotary Club of Singapore, said: "It's my business principle: If there's something good - whether it's shoes or something that you love to eat - that's something worth investing in."

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