Duck Donuts didn’t have much of a marketing department, and Hamm’s job was to change that. She did so, and DiGilio began to recognize skill sets beyond just marketing. He saw this as an opportunity to move her into the COO post where she could help align marketing and operations. For the past year, he’s given Hamm more responsibilities and essentially groomed her to become the next leader of Duck Donuts.
DiGilio still has a significant stake in the company, and will continue his role as founder, which means he’ll participate in Discovery Day with new franchisees and grand opening celebrations. He will also take a seat on the newly formed board of directors.
Duck Donuts said Hamm will focus on “building and protecting the franchise brand and providing best-in-class franchise support while driving company growth and profitability.”
“You never know how these things were going to shape up,” DiGilio says. “So I wanted to be prepared. And so I was grooming her to be CEO, and she just performed incredibly well through the negotiations with NewSpring. Actually, quite frankly, they checked all the boxes as I said, but I also had some personal goals that I wanted to achieve and I thought by being able to step back a little bit, I'd be able to accomplish those personal goals, but still have a hand in the company. “
“Betsy was just the perfect person to step in and lead the team, which she has been doing quite frankly for almost a year now,” he continues. “So it really isn't too much of a change for the staff here.”
Duck Donuts gained momentum as the pandemic wore on. DiGilio says when COVID first hit in March 2020, everything shut down, but the leadership team remained unfazed. The brand responded by doubling its digital and off-premises business. Now, the brand is stronger than it was prior to COVID, Digilio notes.
Sales in recent months are trending higher than 2019’s normalized levels. The founder says that bodes well as Duck Donuts, NewSpring, and the rest of the industry await a much-anticipated summer boom.
“We just can't wait for the summer because we're doing it now and we're still in the tail end of the pandemic and we just can't wait as things begin to open up and more vaccines are out and things become more normal,” DiGilio says. “We expect a tremendous summer.”