American doughnut chain Krispy Kreme is gearing up to make its New Zealand debut, opening its first store in Manukau next month.

And customers will also be able to collect their sweet treats through a drive-through lane or via delivery.

Its flagship 70-seat retail store and 700sqm factory - capable of making up to 4,320 doughnuts per hour - will open on February 28, and it will be giving away a free doughnut to every person on arrival.

Krispy Kreme chief Andrew McGuigan said the company had spent three years scouting potential locations before settling on Manukau.

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"It's a big enough space, it's near to great retailers and accessible from a highway perspective," McGuigan said. "To be located next to other retailers is quite an advantage - being close to Westfield and other big box retailers in that Manukau commercial district will definitely help us pick up some traffic."

The Manukau location will employ 180 people, mostly from South Auckland.

Krispy Kreme has plans to open two more stores in Auckland - one in the Central Business District later in the year and another in West Auckland.

Queen Street is not off the table.

"We're not a brand that needs to be in 50 locations, but we are looking for a location in the CBD or at transport hubs," he said.

"Medium and longer term, once we've established the brand - particularly with the Auckland community, there'll be potential to launch in other parts of New Zealand, and in the South Island."

Dunkin' Donuts is Krispy Kreme's biggest competitor.

"Dunkin' Donuts is a huge brand... we're not taking them lightly, but we will provide a differentiated experience for Kiwis, and we think the market is big enough for both," McGuigan said.

"[Our launch] isn't about trying to stomp out other competitors."

McGuigan said Krispy Kreme was diverse with both its retail and manufacturing avenues.

"When you step back from the brand and the doughnuts there's a lot of really interesting business disciplines that you can learn working at Krispy Kreme.

"We're quite proud of the fact that we give a lot of people employment and we want to set them up to succeed in life, either with us or at other places."

It has plans to offer a delivery service and be available through UberEats.

"The great risk, and Krispy Kreme has made this mistake 10 times over, is growing too fast. We want to tie down our operations and really connect the brand with the people of New Zealand to become one of the most loved brands in Auckland."

Krispy Kreme began in North Carolina 80 years ago. There are now 800 stores in more than 34 locations worldwide.