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Giveaway of 36,000 Krispy Kreme doughnuts has left a bitter taste in my mouth

Krispy Kreme’s plan to give 36,000 doughnuts away via Uber Eats has been a total failure, which has created an angry mob – I should know, I’m part of it.
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As Tuesdays go, 14 November looked to be a good one. Browsing during my commute, I spotted a post from Krispy Kreme on Facebook (sponsored, I assume), which declared it was giving away 36,000 doughnuts to Londoners.

The freebie frenzy was launched to mark the news that the doughnut brand had started to deliver its sweet and sugary treats via the on-demand food delivery app Uber Eats. So from 2pm to 6pm, anyone ordering a dozen original glazed doughnuts from Krispy Kreme via the app should have received the order for free – while stocks lasted.

Krispy Kreme was keen to highlight only certain stores would be included in the giveaway in its terms and conditions, so I was glad to see Fulham Broadway was representing. Our Chelsea Harbour office, just 0.8 miles away according to Google Maps, would surely be eligible for delivery.

2.15pm rolled around and I feverishly snatched up my phone to make the order from Uber Eats, which I went out of my way to download this morning.

It started off badly. Searching for Krispy Kreme generated zero results, so I took to Twitter to find out if I was alone – I was not.

Six minutes later and I was in! Adrenaline coursed through my body as I left a note for my box of FREE DOUGHNUTS, requesting they be delivered to Zen on team Real Business, lest someone from another department try and snatch them up. But the opportunity to go sniffing around the office for traces of icing never came.

As the order was processing, I was suddenly met with an ugly alert that said: “Could not complete order. We had some trouble connecting but should have you eating shortly.”

Was the WiFi on the blink? I switched to 4G to see if it made a difference. It did not.

Suddenly, the alert got aggressive. My order was an “invalid request”, just before I was told “Checkout was not allowed by orderValidator. Possible reasons include breaking alcohol rules or cash rules”.

You what?

My confusion and frustration evolved even further as I was then told: “Unable to load basket. Order location is too far from store.”

You’ll recall I said the store was 0.8 miles, that’s a 16-minute walk or eight-minute drive, hardly a location that can be warranted as “too far”.

Was Krispy Kreme hoping that all of its boxes were going to be shifted to people in the same building?

The website itself says that orders are delivered within 1.8 miles of stores, so I was well within the radius required.

Despite all of the ranting on Twitter, which has actually resulted in #KrispyKreme trending, the official page for the brand has largely remained silent and failed to address the debacle.

It even had the nerve to retweet one lone individual that appears to have received a batch of the doughnuts, trolling its customers into disbelief.

Aside from both parties facing a technological embarrassment and demonstrating just how not to manage customer enquiries – by ignoring them, in this case – there was yet another a social faux pas made by Krispy Kreme.

Turns out its giveaway of sugar-rich snacks just so happened to coincide with #WorldDiabetesDay. Just what exactly was the Krispy Kreme marketing team thinking?

There are so many questions about this whole campaign:

What went wrong?

Why hasn’t Krispy Kreme responded to any customer enquiries?

How did this launch end up taking place on World Diabetes Day?

Just how much did Millie’s Cookies benefit from this disaster?

In all seriousness though, making such a highly publicised promise to customers should only have one outcome – it gets stuck to.

And, if something does go wrong, which can always happen, then put your hands up and admit it!

Simply burying your head in the sand, closing the doors to customers and ignoring them, when they’re the ones spending their money with you, is unacceptable.

Only time will tell what Krispy Kreme and Uber Eats will have to say about such a bitter start to what should have been a sweet partnership.

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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