Owning your own donut shop could be a fun and delicious way to spend your days, especially if you enjoy baking, early morning hours and serving sweet treats to customers. As with any business, location is key, and a clever name, well-researched business plan and an understanding of the operation will take you far. To get started producing daily batches of donuts, you'll need to acquire specific equipment for the kitchen, a stock of donut ingredients and a few other items to outfit your storefront.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Entrepreneurs looking to open a donut shop will need to purchase a wide range of equipment, including a donut fryer, machinery to prepare the dough, a depositor and a long list of smaller kitchen wares. In addition, they'll need a cash register and equipment to stock the lobby area of the store.
Making the Donuts
Your first consideration involves the scale of your business. Smaller shops use a more manual process to create donuts, while larger shops use larger, automated equipment. Work with a broker to price equipment and factor in your anticipated sales and production goals, while also choosing equipment that can handle an expanded output as your business grows.
Start with a donut fryer, one of the most necessary pieces of equipment, which ranges from countertop models to those needing several feet of kitchen space. Alongside the fryer, you'll need a proofer, which is used for making yeast-raised donuts. Again, the size varies and depends upon your production scale. You'll need an industrial-sized mixer and bakery racks and trays to hold your in-process and finished donuts. A large work table and either manual donut cutters or a donut-cutting machine help create the product. You'll also need a depositor, also called a dropper, which is a piece of equipment that drops donuts into the fryer.
To finish your donuts, you'll need glazing tables with additional trays and pans just for this purpose, along with a donut filler for those delicious jelly donuts. You'll also need to have a kitchen scale, appropriate-sized measuring cups, a baker's thermometer, oven mitts, commercial rolling pin and other hand tools and utensils. If your location doesn't already have the basics, such as sinks and a refrigerator, you'll need those as well.
Initial Ingredient Inventory
For your initial inventory of raw ingredients, you'll need to know your donut menu and choose ingredients accordingly. This includes bulk amounts of flour, sugar, milk powder, eggs, baking powder and yeast. Add to this any specialty ingredients or toppings, such as candy sprinkles or chopped nuts.
Outfit the front interior of your donut shop with display cases to show off your creations. Add a countertop, cash register and a coffee maker, along with a refrigerated case to hold any cold beverages for sale. Add a few tables and chairs for customers who want to stay and enjoy their donuts, and either dedicate some counter space or have a standalone table area for coffee condiments, napkins and a garbage bin.
Consider purchasing a cash register that works with an accounting software program, so you can have your employees log in and out via the cash register. To manage your financial operations, choose accounting software that can also track and possibly automate parts of your bookkeeping system.
Your needs may vary depending upon the size and scale of your shop and the location you choose. If you happen to purchase a pre-existing donut shop or one that was closed and you're now reopening, you may be able to acquire much of what you need from the old business. Additionally, if you need to stick to a budget, investigate used equipment, which is often sold at a significant discount from new equipment.
Cynthia Gaffney has spent over 20 years in finance with experience in valuation, corporate financial planning, mergers & acquisitions consulting and small business ownership. She has worked as a financial writer and editor for several online finance and small business publications since 2011, including AZCentral.com's Small Business section, The Balance.com, Chron.com's Small Business section, and LegalBeagle.com. A Southern California native, Cynthia received her Bachelor of Science degree in finance and business economics from USC.