Krispy Kreme’s CEO is defending the company against social media backlash to its offer of a free doughnut a day for the rest of the year to customers who get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some critics took a swipe at the promotion, citing the health effects of eating a doughnut daily, especially during a pandemic that’s harder on the obese. Others said the offer discriminates against people who don’t want the vaccine.
“Every incentive helps & free doughnuts may help move the needle,” tweeted Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. “However, donuts are a treat that’s not good for health if eaten every day.”
In an interview with Yahoo Finance Live, Krispy Kreme CEO Mike Tattersfield said, “We’re a sweet treat company…If folks don’t want to visit a doughnut shop, they don’t have to.”
He added that if “folks that want to get a vaccine, if they decide to combine a Krispy Kreme pickup (for) a doughnut, they can. That’s how we look at it… generosity.”
Starting last Monday, consumers showing a valid COVID-19 vaccination card at Krispy Kreme locations nationwide get a free Original Glazed doughnut, the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based chain announced.
The freebie is valid at all 369 Krispy Kreme shops located in 41 states and available “anytime, any day, every day for the rest of the year,” Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer, told USA TODAY. No purchase is necessary.
Krispy Kreme is also offering up to four hours of paid time off for each COVID-19 vaccination for its employees. And it isn’t alone. Businesses including retailers such as Best Buy, Target and Trader Joe’s, have been providing paid time off to employees who get the vaccine.
While many companies are giving employees motivation, Krispy Kreme appears to be the first national chain to provide consumers with a treat. It has also given out free doughnuts on special occasions like Halloween for wearing a costume, Election Day and recently on St. Patrick’s Day for consumers who wore green.
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