This Krispy Kreme Store is a Masterclass in Experiential Design: Here are 7 Important Lessons.


The Krispy Kreme just off Concord Mills Boulevard in Concord, NC has all the trappings of the doughnut shop we know and love. Their signature forest green, red neon fixtures, and iconic Krispy Kreme signage have all made an appearance.  But this isn’t the Krispy Kreme of old. Their first redesign in over a decade is a masterclass in experiential design. I sat in that Krispy Kreme for three hours. These are the doughnuts I ate and the seven lessons I learned about experiential design.

experiential design krispy kreme

Orient guests right away

If you’re visiting this place, it’s fair to assume you’ve heard it’s an “experience.” Walking into a new experience can be intimidating. It’s easy to tell that their designers wanted to mitigate any hesitation by leaning on bold wayfinding signage. From a quick glance around the room, you can tell what town you’re in, where the service line starts, how to find the restroom, where to pick up your order, and where mobile orders should park and pick up their orders.


Tell an iconic story

Situated adjacent to their famous doughnut theater and visible from nearly every angle of the space, Krispy Kreme placed a tribute to their proud history front and center. They don’t tell the whole story. They avoid tiresome dates and family epitaphs. Instead, they tell a sweet anecdote above a station where children of all ages may grab their own classic paper hat. This little monument to cheer shows Krispy Kreme’s humor, gentle quirk, and it reaffirms their core belief, that their approach to doughnut making is not only more fun but yields the most irresistible results.


Invite them into your process

Half factory and half artist’s studio, there’s something special about the moment when those first doughnuts emerge inside the fryer. I should know. I waited three hours to see it. They bob down the lazy river of hot oil while crackling bubbles turning each ring from a light batter to their signature crispy golden brown. Scooped up by rollers, each one cools for a few seconds before being bathed in a sweet, white curtain. The process is tactile, comforting, and satisfying. It allows guests an insight into the food they’re eating and the people behind the scenes. Doughnut theater drives home the idea that what they do is fun, should be experienced, and can bring us closer together.


Opt for vibrancy

Overall, breakfast concepts have trended towards dusky cafes with cool tones, reclaimed wood, and Edison lights. Krispy Kreme feels more like its own thing. They’ve managed to blend their legacy branding with bright colors, and whimsical details. The chairs are lime green and red. The upholstery and central divider are yellow. A vinyl decal printed with rainbow sprinkles crowns their service line. While I watch guests mosey through the line, I’m tempted to imagine they’re doughnuts, freshly frosted and ready for finishing touches. It’s a stark contrast from the cozy warmth of a coffee house, but it’s way more fun.


Make room for play

Aside from the vibrant design, quirky details, and creation process that’s as interactive as it is engaging, their space feels like an invitation to play. The furniture is light and durable, assuming that all of it will be loved and abused by thousands of children a year. They made special accommodations, providing displays and features that are easily accessible for children. Their outdoor area sports a large doughnut feature that doubles as a photo op or jungle gym, depending on the customer. And if that weren’t enough, they made sure the indoor and outdoor spaces are inviting and comfortable enough for adults to sit and stay, while the young ones play off their sugar rush.


Provide an exclusive offering

Doughnuts have become a bit of a trendy item, finding their way into unexpected circumstances. We’ve seen doughnuts as burger buns, grilled cheese, and breakfast sandwiches. Krispy Kreme wasn’t afraid to be playful with new menu items and made sure all were close-up ready. Who could resist sharing photos of a milkshake with its own mini doughnut or a doughnut ice cream sandwich?

Give an opportunity to be creative

Although they’re serving up some unexpected treats, their most exciting offering must be the customized doughnuts. For quick service, they take control of the ordering process. Krispy Kreme limits the sizes to three and six-packs and provides a slip of paper, where you may tick off your orders while you wait. When your order has been submitted, the doughnut theater starts its second act, where guests can watch each morsel made to their specifications.



Because Krispy Kreme is orienting guests quickly, providing opportunities for participation, and giving both children and adults room to play, the store is seeing huge success. Within the first 24 hours, the store set a company record by doing about $35,000 in sales, according to a manager. It’s clear that experiential design can have a huge impact on your business. To learn more about how to implement experiential elements, fill out our contact form below!