The iconic American creator of such doughnuts as the New York Cheesecake, the Caramel Kreme Crunch or the paradoxically named Doughnut Hole is in a sticky predicament. Founded in 1937 in North Carolina, Krispy Kreme reached a pinnacle of cool when it featured in Sex and the City in the early 2000s. But like the dot.com bubble, the glazed doughnut frenzy imploded. Too rapid geographical expansion (including a concession in Harrods), greedy investors and the US switch to a low-carb diet meant that Krispy Kreme had to issue its first profit warning in 2004. Under former CEO Scott Livengood, Krispy Kreme faced a federal investigation and shareholder lawsuits, while owning up to accounting irregularities.
Producing 7.5 million doughnuts a day in North America alone, Krispy Kreme is in no danger of collapse, despite the rocky road it's on. New CEO Daryl Brewster, a former Kraft Foods president, is leading the company to recovery. 'Rather than get mired in the past, the focus for us is to really value the future,' he said recently.