Creating a mouth-watering donut shop menu is a critical part of your business’s success. The items you choose to sell help to differentiate your store from the steep competition that exists. Carefully research what your customers want so you can offer products they can’t wait to eat.
Understand Your Customers
The first step to take when figuring out your donut shop menu is to uncover what your customers want to eat. Are your customers mainly business people who stop off at your store on their way to work in the morning? Are you catering to families with kids who are out for a treat after school?
The kind of clientele you have will inform the items on your menu. For example, you may want to put more kid-friendly donuts with lots of colorful sprinkles on the menu if kids are a large part of your market.
Research Your Local Competition’s Donut Menus
When creating your donut menu, be sure to take a peek at your competition. What are nearby donut shops selling? This will help you understand the market and your customers. If all of the competition in the area is selling rainbow donuts, for example, you can safely assume that is an item that your market wants to buy.
Looking at your competition’s donut menus will also enable you to differentiate your business from them. If you notice that none of the competitive donut shops have any unique toppings on the menu, you can experiment by creating a new line of donuts with trendy toppings like candied bacon to help you stand out in the competitive landscape.
Include Traditional Favorites
Regardless of your customers and where you’re located, it is wise to have a few popular traditional donuts on the menu. These flavors appeal to many different kinds of audience segments and are some of the most popular flavors in the United States. You will find these on many donut menus. Consider including:
- Chocolate glaze
- Boston cream
- Strawberry jelly
- Vanilla glaze
- Apple fritter
- Lemon cream
Try Exciting New Trends
If your customers are adventurous and are interested in trying new kinds of donut flavors, you may want to look at introducing some new trendy flavors on your donut menu. Some intriguing options include:
- Rainbow multicolored donuts with rainbow icing and sprinkles
- Savory flavors like mac and cheese and tomato basil
- Donut hybrids like cronuts, which are a combination of a croissant and a donut
Consider Creative Toppings
Sometimes, it’s not the donut flavor that matters, it’s what you put on top of it. These days, the toppings on the donut garner just as much attention as the donut itself. Donut menus that appeal to many customers include toppings such as:
- Breakfast cereal
- Candied nuts
- Bacon, mac and cheese, fried chicken and other savory items
- Whole chocolate bars
- Chunks of dessert like cheesecake and brownies
Remember Donut Pairings
Don’t forget what people like to enjoy with donuts: coffee, tea and other warm beverages. Be sure to include these options on your donut menu. You can even have combos where you provide a discounted price if a customer purchases a donut with a beverage. This can help to increase sales of both items.
Find Creative Uses for Donut Holes
Where there are donuts, there are donut holes. What will you do with the small, circular center of each donut? Many donut menus include donut holes as an item that customers can purchase by the half dozen.
You can also use donut holes to experiment with new toppings and use them as testers to see which toppings your customers prefer. You can also give them out as free samples to encourage customers to purchase new flavors.
Add Other Menu Items
Depending on where you are located, your competition and your customers’ needs, you may want to look at expanding your donut menus to include other items. If your market demands it, consider offering:
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.