Creating the Doughnut-Safe Workplace:
Robots Break Ground on Krispy Kreme's Silicon Valley Store
What didn't happen was what was surprising as Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD at www.krispykreme.com) broke ground on its new facility in California's fable Silicon Valley: No one on the construction crew even fought off any vague ideas of scarfing down the steaming slew of freshly baked doughnuts, which were piled high on trays all over the place.
No, the doughnuts were safe as safe can be, since the steely fortitude came from a groundbreaking crew made up of robots.
In fact, the robots not only handled the groundbreaking. They even served the doughnuts to the guests after the soil had been broken for KKD's new store in the city of Mountain View. (And, no, to address one obvious question, there were no Al Gore spottings at the ceremony.) KKD's chutzpah turned what's normally a fairly rote new-facility rite into a strikingly strange brew of high tech and high sugar. The robots appeared courtesy of Nomadic Technologies (www.robots.com), a supplier of mobile research robots and wireless networking equipment that will be a neighbor of the new Krispy Kreme store.
Brad Bruckman, who's heading up Krispy Kreme's development in the Northern California area, called the robots "a perfect fit" for KKD's new Silicon Valley location.
"We're very excited about bringing Krispy Kreme to Mountain View," Bruckman said. "As soon as the Union City store opened, customers were asking us, 'When are you going to Mountain View?' It's great to be opening in a community where we already have a following."
Yes, Krispy Kreme has developed a major Silicon Valley following. Founded in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1937, KKD for many years was largely a Southern phenomenon. (Elvis was a KKD junkie - surprise, surprise, surprise!).
Now, though, the sultan of sweet is fast expanding its presence on a nationwide scale. KKD now operates more than 150 stores in 27 U.S. states. Collectively, those stores churn out an estimated 3.5 million doughnuts a day.
Valley geeks rolling in the dough have proved to be suckers for KKD's glazed goodies. Only opened in March, the company's first Silicon Valley store in Union City proved to be such a raging success that KKD rushed to get the new location for the Mountain View facility. More Krispy Kreme stores are already in the works for the Northern California area. Sacramento is already a definite go, and the company is looking at other locations in the area, KKD officials say.
In addition to the appeal of its products, KKD will get a warm welcome from the Mountain View community through the company's partnering with local nonprofit organizations (as it does in its other locations). In Union City, the store shared a portion of its opening-day revenue with the East Bay nonprofit group "Centro de Servicios" (CDS), and it continues the relationship through daily donations of doughnuts to the group's food bank. Krispy Kreme also works with CDS's employment referral service to find potential workers.
Like Krispy Kreme stores across the nation, the Mountain View store will feature the same killer combo that's turned many strong men and women's wills into jelly.
For example, the facility will have the traditional "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign, which is illuminated when batches of fresh, hot, yeast-raised doughnuts are ready. On top of that, drive-through service is available. (Of course, it's always possible that the major market here is made up of Valley workers who can't afford to live there and need a massive sugar rush before beginning their hours-long commutes to more reasonably priced digs.)
In addition, folks in the Valley will be subjected to the tantalizing sight of watching through the window as the fresh doughnuts are being made. What's more, the scent of KKD's delectable delights will waft through the outdoor air like some olfactory Pied Piper.
The Mountain View store will be a big one, employing as many as 150, company officials say. They'll all do a good job, we're sure. But they won't come close to matching the iron wills of those groundbreaking robots.
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