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California

Yum Yum to Devour Winchell's Doughnuts

August 13, 2004|Dawn Wotapka | Times Staff Writer

Dueling doughnut chains have agreed to join forces. Yum Yum Donuts said Thursday that it would acquire Winchell's Donut House.

City of Industry-based Yum Yum, which has 71 Southern California stores, will keep the Winchell's brand, according to Roxanne Ruben, a spokeswoman for both companies.

Santa Ana-based Winchell's has almost 200 outlets in the U.S. -- primarily in California -- and several overseas.

The sale is expected to close within two months. Terms weren't disclosed.

Ruben said she didn't know whether any employees would be fired or any locations shuttered.

Executives for the two companies, both of them privately held, didn't return calls seeking comment. "They're trying to just keep it low key," Ruben said.

She said the acquisition was a "logical way to immediately grow the Yum Yum company."

Hal Sieling, a restaurant consultant in Carlsbad, Calif., said it could also benefit Winchell's. Yum Yum will be able to "pick and choose the best from both." Combined they will "probably turn out to be better than either one of them individually. They'll be able to use their expertise to make Winchell's better again."

Winchell's was founded by Verne Winchell in Temple City in 1948 and later purchased by what is now Denny's Inc. Then, in 1989, Shato Holdings, a Canadian company, purchased the doughnut retailer, which, like most, now also sells muffins, bagels and breakfast sandwiches.

Yum Yum was founded in Highland Park in 1971 by Phil Holland at what had been an Orange Julius stand, Holland said. He said he sold his share in 1989; it is now owned and operated by Lincoln Watase, the firm's president, and Frank Watase.

Holland said he was pleased with the deal: "I think it's wonderful news.... There's a great depth of knowledge in Yum Yum."

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