KANSAS CITY — Because Duck Donuts makes only cake donuts, there’s no time-consuming process involved in letting the dough rise. The company’s proprietary donut mix comes ready to use at store level, and batter is dropped one ring at a time into a Donut Robot Mark V from Belshaw Adamatic. The all-electric donut machine has the capacity to make 56 dozen standard-size donuts per hour, according to Belshaw Adamatic.
Duck Donuts produces fresh donuts in just a few minutes, said the general manager at Duck Donuts in Kissimmee, Fla., the company’s first franchise store in Florida.
Belshaw Adamatic’s Donut Robot fryers deposit, fry, turn, and dispense cake donuts or mini donuts automatically. Training and labor requirements are substantially reduced while high-quality, consistent donuts are produced time after time. Additionally, Donut Robot fryers reduce oil absorption in comparison with kettle fryers. Donut Robots are fun to watch and always attract new fans, young and old.
To track the phenomenal growth rate of cake donut sales in America, one must go back in time to the humble beginnings of this eye-catching trend in 2013. It was that year when Duck Donuts opened its first franchise store in Williamsburg, Va., and Hurts Donut Co. opened its first store in Springfield, Mo. It’s important to point out that Duck Donuts sells cake donuts exclusively and Hurts Donut focuses primarily on cake donuts, which account for roughly 70% of sales.
Since that time, Duck Donuts has grown to more than 100 locally owned and operated shops across 21 states and international locations in Dubai, UAE and Riyadh, KSA. Duck Donuts is continuing its international expansion with the company’s first location in Saudi Arabia, in the capital city of Riyadh. In October 2019, Anjal Arabia Trading signed a master franchise agreement to open 10 units and begin sub-franchising throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the next five years.
“We are delighted to add Saudi Arabia to the growing list of countries where Duck Donuts is expanding and is making a positive impact within the local community,” said Betsy Hamm, chief executive officer of Duck Donuts. “We look forward to their rapid development of this exciting market, giving those throughout the country the chance to taste and experience our warm, delicious and made-to-order donuts.”
The nearly 1,300-square-foot store reflects the franchise’s iconic beach theme and family-friendly atmosphere complete with indoor seating. In addition to donuts, the Riyadh location also serves coffee, espresso, donut sundaes, breakfast sandwiches, milkshakes, frozen beverages, select retail items and more. The shop offers a viewing area where customers can watch their donuts being made.
Duck Donuts also has an international location in Dubai, UAE, with additional locations expected to open in the coming months in Canada and Egypt.
Hurts Donut, now a multi-million-dollar company, is up to 21 stores, with new locations planned for Austin, Texas; Memphis, Tenn.; and a second store in Tulsa, Okla. Based on these examples, among numerous others, it is fair to say that cake donuts rank among the hottest selling sweet goods at retail bakeries in America.
“Today’s reality is much bigger than our original dream,” said Tim Clegg, who founded Hurts Donut with his wife, Kas, the donut lover of the family. “We work nonstop tirelessly seven days a week.”
On the equipment front, Hurts Donut now uses fryers from Belshaw Adamatic at all stores.
“We opened our original store with just one fryer and a makeup table,” Mr. Clegg said. “Fifteen stores later, we use all Belshaw Adamatic equipment. We really like it.”
Thanks to Belshaw Adamatic’s equipment, donut size is adjustable up to 3½ inches, and frying time and temperature can be changed easily. The Donut Robot fries every donut for an equal amount of time, and the electronic controller maintains temperature very close to target (normally within 1 degree), resulting in more consistent product than available with standard fryers.
While a Donut Robot works, you can do other jobs. Donut Robot systems allow a single person to produce more donuts, and better-quality donuts, than standard frying. This happens because each donut is given the same frying time and is turned over at the same moment, while absorbing less oil than kettle fryers. Meanwhile the operator can do a variety of tasks such as mixing, icing or glazing, even packaging and selling.
Donut Robots can produce cake donuts right out of the box. In addition, you will need a way to filter your shortening, either an EZMelt18 Melter-Filter, or a Filter-Flo Siphon. A Roto Cooler is another popular accessory. With a feed table and a set of cloths and trays, you can make excellent raised donuts.
Donuts may use many different breakfast foods as toppings, including cereal, bacon, and fruit, but donuts are no longer a breakfast-only item. According to a survey from Dawn Foods, 87% of people eat them in the morning, 38% in the afternoon, 33% in the evening and 23% late at night.
Candy remains a strong topping on donuts. At Hurts Donut Co., based in Springfield, Mo., the shop has had great success with its Andes Mint Donut. Topped with crushed Andes Chocolate Mints, the donut is a top seller at Hurts’ many franchise locations. Another best seller is its Maple Bacon Bar, piled with sweet and savory maple bacon, considered by many to be “the candy of meats.”
Hurts Donut Co. is never afraid to experiment with toppings, and that boldness has led to a variety of delicious donuts. Mr. Clegg recalled the early trials and errors of offering any crazy topping — potato chips, Cheetos, all types of sugar cereals — they may imagine.
“At first, it didn’t matter what we put on a donut — it sold,” he said.