Krispy Kreme hopes high-end coffee with your doughnut will boost bottom line

WINSTON-SALEM — Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, based in Winston-Salem, announced this week they are relaunching their coffee line with more choices and a higher grade of coffee bean.Krispy Kreme isn’t the only retailer working to up their coffee game after Starbucks announced price increases in their coffee drinks in the summer. Dunkin’ Donuts and other fast food retailers have used similar tactics to try to draw in a younger, caffeinated crowd. But hold onto your sweet tooth, Krispy Kreme is offering a free doughnut throughout February with the purchase of one of the new coffees.The announcement comes after downtown Raleigh was turned into a fried dough free-for-all last weekend in the annual Krispy Kreme challenge race. The five-mile race has thousands of runners, many costumed, running down Hillsborough Street from the NC State University Bell Tower to the Peace Street Krispy Kreme, eating a dozen doughnuts and running back.It has been an annual event for 13 years after 10 friends started it with only a handful of racers actually finishing the race. Last year, more than 8,000 runners participated in the event with 2,561 finishing the race. Since the start of the event, the Challenge has donated a cumulative total of $1,149,000 to UNC Children’s Hospital.Founded in 1937, Krispy Kreme has more than 1,100 retail shops in 30 countries, having added Iceland to the list in November. In May it was sold for $1.35 billion to JAB Holding Company — a private investment group that owns Keurig and Caribou Coffee, among other properties. JAB paid $21 a share to acquire Krispy Kreme.