Staff are meeting in booths where customers will soon sit, black tiles gleam in the kitchens, industrial-style stainless cooking equipment is installed and the finishing touches are being put on New Zealand's first outlet for popular American-headquartered global doughnut chain Krispy Kreme.

Black headsets with microphones are waiting in place for drive-through staff, vehicle lanes have been marked and a dedicated carpark is formed with two disabled parks at the new Auckland flagship store where already, goods are stacked high behind roller doors but most windows are blanked out.

Krispy Kreme's doughnuts. Photo/Dean Purcell
Krispy Kreme's doughnuts. Photo/Dean Purcell

The sign on Teak Construction's fences in Manukau has a message to delight the many New Zealanders who have tasted the delicacy overseas and campaigned for many years to bring it here: "Krispy Kreme Doughnuts New Zealand, Opening Soon."

Inside one of the main windows near the pedestrian entry-way at 3 Ronwood Ave, a neon sign is up saying 'Hot Now' and although no precise opening date has yet been announced, that could come very soon.

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Apart from signage announcing its distinctive brand, the store looks ready to go and details released last year predicted an opening early this year.

The new purpose-built single-level red, grey and cream store designed by BSW Architects looks like it could be open for business any minute, except for a small yet-to-be-finished garden on the store's street frontage.

The store also remains behind Teak's Construction safety fencing, inaccessible to the public: although the building store is up, Teak is continuing work on a larger $9.5m job, creating a big new tavern.

The project is opposite Westfield Manukau, beside a bulk retail centre whose outlets include Kathmandu, Ballentynes and Anytime Fitness.

Krispy Kreme: about to announce its opening date.
Krispy Kreme: about to announce its opening date.

Krispy Kreme was founded in North Carolina in 1937, creating a glazed doughnut which is now sold in many countries - but never here before.

The chain's first New Zealand store has been built on land owned by the Wiri Licensing Trust. The trust also developed the store for the chain.

Alan Johnson of the trust. Photo/Doug Sherring
Alan Johnson of the trust. Photo/Doug Sherring

Alan Johnson, trust chairman, is delighted at the finished result: "We're rapt about it. The company had clear ideas about what they wanted in terms of design. When you see it, I just think it's quite fresh in its approach."

The doughnut store was a $4.5m development in the wider project of $9.5m, he said. The trust leases the store to the doughnut chain. The trust contributed about $600,000 equity to the project, Johnson said.

Krispy Kreme has taken an initial 10-year lease with two rights of renewal, each of five years, Johnson said, but he refused to say how much rent they would pay.

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The new Krispy Kreme store in Manukau. Photo/Anne Gibson
The new Krispy Kreme store in Manukau. Photo/Anne Gibson

The terms of the rental agreement means the business has a potential 20-year leasing arrangement for that store, indicating confidence in this market and perhaps even a long-term plan to expand here although nothing has been announced.

Asked about issues of obesity and its south Auckland location, Johnson said the doughnuts were not aimed to be sold "as an offer like KFC or Burger King." They were designed to be a luxury, he stressed.

"It's a treat to be eaten occasionally," he said.

Price points would also mean people were given the clear message that the doughnuts were an item more for special occasions than every-day eating, he said.

"So the reality is, people are not going to consume them in great masses if they can't afford to," Johnson said.

The trust said new store is not just a retail shop and drive-through but a much larger and more comprehensive manufacturing base for Krispy Kreme for the entire Auckland area and also the Waikato.

Kiwis have never had a Krispy Kreme store before. Photo/Dean Purcell
Kiwis have never had a Krispy Kreme store before. Photo/Dean Purcell

"Krispy Kreme expects that as many as 150 new jobs will be created in this venture, many of the entry-level jobs for local school leavers," the trust said.

Johnson said last year: "We are developing a distinctive good-quality building for Krispy Kreme which we believe will offer something new and exciting for people visiting Manukau city centre. "We expect it will offer Manukau people wider entertainment and shopping opportunities."

Andrew McGuigan, Krispy Kreme's chief executive in Australia, has also expressed enthusiasm for the new store and the entry into New Zealand.

The trust said the venture was expected to open early this year.

A spokeswoman for Krispy Kreme in New Zealand said this week the business could not yet engage with the media on the opening but that would change soon.

"Krispy Kreme would not be able to provide access to the site until that point. Signage is going up in the next couple of weeks and we'd be happy for you to come down at this point," she said.