Mar 26, 2024 - Business

McDonald's and Krispy Kreme sweeten up breakfast battle

Krispy Kreme doughnuts in a box

Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be added to McDonald's restaurants nationwide by the end of 2026. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

McDonald's and Krispy Kreme are sweetening up the battle for breakfast bucks by taking their partnership nationwide.

Why it matters: Breakfast is big business for fast-food chains and quick-service restaurants, which are doubling down on partnerships and new menu items to boost morning sales.

Driving the news: McDonald's and Krispy Kreme announced Tuesday that they will expand their partnership to bring fresh doughnuts to Golden Arches restaurants nationwide by the end of 2026.

  • The phased market rollout will start later this year, the companies said.
  • It will double the number of locations nationwide where consumers can purchase Krispy Kreme doughnuts, the chains said.

Flashback: The companies have been working together since late 2022 and have tested the concept at 160 McDonald's in Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky.

The big picture: The lines are blurring on what's considered competition versus an opportunity for collaboration.

  • Before teaming up, McDonald's and Krispy Kreme were seen as competitors, especially for breakfast with both serving coffee and pastries.
  • It's similar to a recent partnership between Wendy's and Cinnabon that rolled out nationwide in February to add a cinnamon roll to the burger chain's breakfast menu.
  • Subway teamed up with Cinnabon and Auntie Anne's to add a footlong churro and pretzel.

What's next: Krispy Kreme said it is scaling its supply chain to support the expansion.

  • Krispy Kreme president and CEO Josh Charlesworth said during an earnings call in February that the company's existing network could serve about 6,000 McDonald's restaurants.

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