Winchell's Donut House

In 1948, Verne H. Winchell founded Winchell’s Donut House in Temple City, a suburb of Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, Winchell’s spread northward to San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and east to Phoenix and Denver. The company merged with the Denny’s restaurant chain 20 years later. The trend toward healthier foods caused serious problems for doughnut sales beginning in the 1980s. Winchell’s was sold to TW Services, which passed it along to a Canadian investment group. Many Winchell’s franchises were sold to Cambodian immigrants, who established a special economic niche for themselves. By 1985, 80 percent of California’s doughnut shops were Cambodian-owned. In celebration of its 50th anniversary in 1998, Winchell’s in Pasadena, California, created the world’s largest doughnut, weighing 5,000 pounds and measuring 95 feet in diameter.
The company has expanded its product line. It now includes 70 different varieties of doughnuts, croissants, cinnamon rolls, bagels, and muffins, as well as beverages including coffee, frozen cappuccinos, fruit juices, and soda. As of 2005, Winchell’s Donut House had about 200 stores, mainly in western states, as well as in Guam, New Zealand, Saipan, and Saudi Arabia.

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