How to make a donut go viral

English: A box of Krispy Kreme Original Glazed...

English: A box of Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnuts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Krispy Kreme Lives In Japan!

Krispy Kreme Lives In Japan! (Photo credit: palindrome6996)

How to make a donut that no one can resist. Do you want to know the secret to making a donut that will keep the customers coming in droves? Then listen up.

I am a donut connoisseur. I know a good donut when I see one. Yes… “see one”. I can almost always tell when a donut is going to be mouth-watering good when I see one. I see donut businesses come and go and I have a very good record of predicting if a donut shop will make it or not. But… just to “make it” shouldn’t be  enough.

Let me tell you what I mean by making a donut go “viral”. What I mean by viral is having a donut so delicious that customers can’t stay away for very long. It means having long lines at your store and orders for office meetings that you can’t possibly fill. It means being the enemy of dieters globally. You will be on the hit list of Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers both, LOL! At the very least my advice will increase your profits to some degree.

Having a donut go “viral” is defined by me as equal or greater than the donut sales and reputation of Krispy Kremes and/or Winchells’s Donut’s. How do you think these businesses started a franchise? Because it all started with a good donut. Remember, just because a donut shop goes out of business does not mean that the donuts were not “viral” in taste. Any good business can go under because of poor management. If you own a donut shop or are thinking of opening one then this message is for you. If you are a donut connoisseur like myself than you will appreciate this article just due to the sheer enjoyment of thinking about a good donut. A good donut is hard to find.

The message is very simple. There are two concepts that must be  followed. 1) Bigger  is “Not” better. 2) Icing is your friend.  I know… contrary to popular belief. How many times have you seen advertised “home of the world’s largest cinnamon roll” only to find out that is all that was special… the size. Just to prove this point, look at who capitalized on the idea that ” bigger is not better”? Cinnabon. Cinnabon makes a wonderful small cinnamon roll and went “viral” in the cinnamon roll business. Cinnabon rolls are also covered in icing and they will scrape the bottom of the pan for you to add more to your roll. This makes for a more moist and flavorful cinnamon roll. Think about it. What about plate size pancakes that a lot of restaurants advertise? I hate those. I prefer the dollar size pancakes they served me as a child on the children’s menu because the are tender and moist, unlike the plate-sized pancakes that are beautiful on one side and leathery, dark and overcooked on the other ( a common trick used by lazy chefs all over the world).

The idea is simple… bigger is not better because food items with bread or dough get dried out the longer they cook and it takes longer to cook something the thicker it is. Most family owned donut shops make the fatal mistake of making the “cake” donut very puffy and tall with very little icing. This is a double no-no in my book. An ideal cake donut should be “small” and covered in icing…. not just on the top but the sides too. It is the icing that keeps the moisture locked in and provides for extra sweetness. Who wants a dried out cake donut with very little icing? Not many people. If you do like your donut on the dry side there are plenty of other donut choices such as the krueller, old-fashioned, or just a simple plain donut that is usually dunked in coffee. They wouldn’t have to “dunk” if the donut wasn’t so dry. I do agree though that coffee is delicious with donuts and there is nothing more appetite stimulating than the smell of hot donuts and fresh hot coffee wafting through the air. There is a place for those dry donuts in every donut shop, but it won’t generate the business like a delicious cake donut or a glazed ring donut. I will pay a premium price for a “viral” donut.

This brings me to the glazed donut. The glazed donut is a favorite. But a glazed donut is just another glazed donut unless you stick to the idea that “bigger is not better”. When I think of a great glazed donut I think of two places: Krispy Kremes and Winchell’s donuts. Why? Because their glazed donuts are so much smaller than the average. They are not too fluffy and high. They are completely covered in icing. Again… remember, small and mostly “covered” in icing. The icing preserves the moisture and adds flavor.  Remember, The more fluffy… the drier the donut…. the less icing, the drier and less tasty of a donut. It is that simple. Krispy Kremes gets it and proves my point. They sell there glazed donuts by the dozen at the drive-thru and has a sign that flashes when the “fresh and hot” donuts are ready. And inside there is usually a long line. Because bottom line… “fresh” is best. A fresh donut is a donut with a moist inside and an ample coverage of proofed icing. Wet icing is a no-no. If I go to a donut shop and try a donut and it is just mediocre and somewhat dry, I will NOT come back!

Those are the two golden rules to making a donut go viral. But a few other suggestions won’t  hurt either. Give samples to people in line. It will increase your sales. Look at Costco. Do you think they are going under because they give samples? No, I usually purchase at least one product of the ten samples I try when I visit Costco. Do you know why? It is an appetite stimulant! I will try things they offer even if I have tried them before. Also, remember add a few fun icing colors to the cake donuts such as pink (cherry flavored) or orange. The children and grown up children love them. Also remember you don’t have to go crazy with sprinkles. This is another myth. Yes, you must use sprinkles, but let the icing show through. Less is better again. You will also save money using less sprinkles. Another thing… a lot of donut shops place the cake donuts low on the shelf where the children can see them but try putting them on the top shelf as well for the adults too. We are all kids when it comes to donuts… sometimes we just don’t want to admit it. Using these ideas and rules will increase your sales. You need to build up a reputation first, so don’t expect results right away. But the repeat business and good word-of-mouth will pay the bills and satisfy the donut connoisseurs of the world.

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