Jenn Abelson writes in the Boston Globe that by 8:30 a.m., baker Russ Glod is four hours deep into his doughnut dance. As classical music plays in the background, Glod pirouettes through the small kitchen, rolling, frying, and frosting hundreds of these circular concoctions for the busiest Dunkin’ Donuts store in the nation.
Glod is a rarity in the Dunkin’ empire. Only three dozen of the more than 2,100 shops in the Northeast still make doughnuts from scratch in the stores. Most franchisees have their baked goods delivered from a commissary, and the art of making doughnuts on site has nearly disappeared from the chain, famous for its classic 1980s “Time to Make the Donuts’’ tagline.
But the craft lives on in the wee hours at this Weymouth store on the corner of Route 18 and Park Avenue, where bakers cook through the night.
Lynne McLaughlin and Sharon Holdcraft, the sisters who own and run the shop, refused to part with the tradition after taking over the store from their father 11 years ago, even though most other franchisees were outsourcing doughnut making.
“We think it gives us an edge,’’ McLaughlin said as she proudly showed off the kitchen, the sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar wafting throughout the store, which is so popular that the owners put in a two-lane drive-through – and even that isn’t enough to keep traffic from spilling out on the road.
The sisters say keeping the baking in-house has made the shop more agile in the recession, giving them better control over expenses and the ability to cut down quickly on production when business slowed. It has also allowed them to feature an expansive selection of more than 35 doughnuts, compared to 20 varieties typically available at Dunkin’ shops. Unique offerings, like blueberry cake munchkins and glazed jelly doughnuts, have helped the sisters cultivate a fiercely loyal following and have attracted customers who would rather drive here than buy the doughnuts at the Dunkin’s in their own towns.
The success is in the numbers: It is the busiest shop of more than 6,300 Dunkin’s nationwide, serving up more than 1,000 doughnuts a day on average, compared to about 700 doughnuts at a typical Dunkin’ store.
“I wouldn’t go to any of the others. They have the best jelly doughnut out there,’’ said Mary Crowley, 77, who makes the daily trip to this Dunkin’ with several of her church friends, rather than visit shops closer to home on the border of Hingham. Crowley tried several other Dunkin’s when the Weymouth one was closed for renovations years ago, but she has remained loyal ever since it reopened the doors.
Stuart Morris, president of QSR Consulting Group, said baking primary menu items on site is a rarity in the quick-service restaurant industry. Mrs. Fields, a gourmet cookie chain, and Wetzel’s Pretzels are some of the few other companies whose store owners bake on site, according to Morris.
Read More at: The Boston Globe