Free doughnuts on National Donut Day. Is Krispy Kreme back?

The national chain, which is offering a free doughnut to customers on National Donut Day, is making a steady comeback after falling on hard times.

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    Krispy Kreme is offering free doughnuts, shown here in a 2004 file photo, one to every customer who stops by on June 4, which is National Donut Day. The chain is making a steady comeback after falling on hard times.
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The free doughnuts Krispy Kreme is handing out Friday on National Donut Day is just icing on the, er, doughnut.

To get your free doughnut, simply visit any Krispy Kreme location in the 37 states it operates in. (Find the one nearest you by clicking here.) No coupon is necessary.

And when you go, take a look around. Are the crowds big? Is the staff smiling?

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They should be. The doughnut chain, based in Winston-Salen, N.C., announced Thursday that its quarterly earnings doubled from a year ago. Although revenue fell, expenses fell even more and same-store sales rose for the sixth quarter in row.

Krispy Kreme is also a hit on social media, having consolidated all its fan-run Facebook sites into one corporate site, which has attracted more than 1.5 million fans. They share stories about their first Krispy Kreme doughnut, the best occasions to serve them, and so on, helping the company spread the word about its product.

All this activity signals that the once-hot chain, which fell on hard times after it went public, is staging a steady comeback. Although it's got a long way to go before it begins posting the revenues of other fast-food chains, Krispy Kreme now expects its store count to increase for the first time since 2005.

That's a sweet business story to accompany a free doughtnut.

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