Kripsy Kreme is preparing to make its official debut in the UK this October. Failed experiments by other manufacturers bring the potential success of a cultural crossover into question. Past experiences make it clear that understanding the cultural differences of different societies will be pivotal to Krispy Kreme’s success.

Krispy Kreme is planning on making its official debut at Harrods, one of the UK’s premier department stores, this October. The company plans on opening 25 shops in the UK over the next five years and hopes to replicate its domestic success across the ocean. However, past failures such as Dunkin’ Donuts‘ launch in the 1990s make it clear that success does not always translate well across borders.

As companies look to expand their businesses abroad, understanding cultural differences, from eating habits to office etiquette, is pivotal. Pret A Manger, the UK’s successful sandwich chain, has struggled in the US. Its sandwiches, under-stuffed by US standards, have not appealed to Americans. Meanwhile in the UK, Subway‘s foot-long subs have been frowned on as overindulgent.

Krispy Kreme faces a daunting challenge. British taste buds run to savoury eating in the morning, and drive-through counters, where Krispy Kreme sales flourish in the US, would be impossible in Central London. It will also be hard to convince people in Britain to buy by the dozen for the office – a mainstay of consumption in the US.

However, there are models of success that can be followed. Starbucks, with 350 locations in Britain, has managed to win a nation of tea drinkers over to coffee by creating a market for coffee and the coffee house experience. Dunkin Donuts has managed to break into other international markets by tailoring the experience – fig, mango and red bean doughnuts are offered in South Korea – while a 250 seat store was built in Bangkok to satisfy customers’ desires to hang out while eating.

To succeed, Krispy Kreme must sell its product as a new experience. It must adapt to its cultural surroundings while moulding its consumers’ attitudes towards breakfast, business meetings and other special occasions.

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