The fast food phenomenon has traditionally originated in the US and then crossed the Atlantic to the UK before attempting, with varying degrees of success, to conquer the rest of Europe.
This is a pattern which has been tried and tested over many years, and one which is still continuing with the announcement yesterday that the US doughnut manufacturer and retailer Krispy Kreme is to begin operating in the UK.
This is only the second franchise agreement for the doughnut group outside the US - the first was in Mississauga, Canada, and opened last year - but is part of the North Carolina-based company's expansion drive to develop its business in countries where it sees particular potential, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Mexico.
Krispy Kreme has appointed the UK-based company Chesire and Kent as its development partner for the British market, where it plans to develop 25 stores over the next five years. The US group will retain a 35 per cent stake in the UK subsidiary, which will be headed by Donald Henshall, formerly Krispy Kreme's president of international development.
Scott Livengood, Krispy Kreme chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: "This is an extremely exciting partnership for Krispy Kreme as we continue our expansion into overseas markets. Don Henshall, who will serve as the managing director of Krispy Kreme UK, played an integral role as we planned to develop and expand Krispy Kreme into international markets. He has an exceptional background, along with a strong understanding of our business and our brand.
"We are very excited about the growth of Krispy Kreme throughout the UK and about bringing the hot doughnut experience to new customers in this amazing part of the world."
Henshall echoed Livengood's sentiments, adding: "We are really looking forward to introducing Krispy Kreme to new customers in the UK and becoming an important part of the communities we serve. We are thrilled to be a part of the Krispy Kreme organisation, particularly as it continues its journey into new countries throughout the world."
Krispy Kreme currently operates more than 250 stores in 37 states and Canada. An estimated 5 million Krispy Kreme doughnuts are made everyday and more than 2 billion are produced each year.
There was no mention, however, of when the first stores were expected to open, or indeed where, though London is obviously a primary target. Doughnut retailers are not widespread in the UK, despite the fact that Krispy Kreme's main rival, Dunkin' Donuts, is owned by the UK's Allied Domecq group, but the recent proliferation of US-style coffee houses has shown that there is still clearly a great deal of interest in American food culture.
There was also no indication of when expansion to other parts of Europe would begin, although Spain is already being targeted as a potential market. Continental Europe has often been harder for US fast food chains to crack than the UK - with the obvious exception of the ubiquitous McDonald's - and even the better-established Dunkin' Donuts is only present in Spain, Germany and Greece, having withdrawn from the UK market a few years ago.
Many European countries have a well-established patisserie culture of their own, making it hard for doughnuts (or indeed donuts) to make a major impression.
The two companies are fierce rivals in the US, and Krispy Kreme is now clearly determined to extend this rivalry to the international arena, despite the substantial head start from Dunkin' Donuts. But how much of that rivalry will take place in Europe still remains to be seen.