A Donut shop is a tried and true business idea that can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you choose to open a more bakery style shop, a quiet cafe, or perhaps open a more expensive franchise, the potential for growth is incredible.

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Learn how to start your own Donut Shop and whether it is the right fit for you.


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Start a donut shop by following these 10 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your donut shop. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a donut shop?

You must have a location from which to make and sell donuts, you need basic equipment and inventory supplies to get you started, you need advertising to get customers in the door, and possibly a website, POS system, and insurance, and you’ll likely need some money set aside for licenses and food service training and certification (e.g., ServSafe). A successful donut shop location, depending on the area you choose and how many cars and foot traffic pass by the location can set you up well financially. Most donut shop owners lease a small retail space that is less than 1000 square feet. In most small and midsized towns you can expect to spend around $6 per square feet of rented space. Ideally, you want your cost to be between 10 and 12 percent of your overall cost. So if you rent a space that is 1000 square feet, and it costs you $6 per square foot, you’ll end up spending $6000 per month on your lease. To put this into perspective, you’ll need to generate just under $50,000 per month, to fall in line with this 10 to 12% range. When putting together your business plan, you’ll need to devise a strategy for selling $50,000 worth of donuts and coffee each month. This will start you in the right direction as far as knowing where to price your donuts, what selling strategies you’ll need to come up with, and how many dozen donuts per day you’ll need to sell. Knowing all this will ensure that you start off on the right foot and know what has to happen to stay in business.

A business plan is the most vital step you must take if you want to operate a successful donut shop for the long haul. Do not skip this step!

What are the ongoing expenses for a donut shop?

Donut shops must pay for rent, as discussed above, but also for equipment. Equipment costs between $15,000 and $20,000 assuming that you buy your equipment new. There are advantages to buying new equipment that many people don’t think about. For one, there are the tax advantages. Equipment depreciation can be deducted from your business tax return. There’s also the benefit of knowing your equipment will last for years to come as you build out your donut empire. And a good POS system is also necessary. A good POS system can range in price depending on which company you decide to go with. We’ve put together some great reviews on POS systems to help you decide which fits your donut business best. Budget at least a few thousand dollars for these POS system expenses. Employee labor costs will likely cost your business $10 to $15 per hour, depending on locality. Certain miscellaneous expenses might be incurred as well: You may need a truck to haul donuts to gas stations and other businesses that you partner with. You may need some money set aside for remodeling the commercial space, meaning you may have to pay around $20,000 to $30,000 to perfect your restaurant’s brand. If you take this route, you will spend between $50,000 and $100,000 or more to get yourself set-up to open and sell donuts. We recommend having a cash reserve of one year’s worth of rent and utility expenses set aside to cover the fact that a business takes time to acquire customers. After one year, you should be generating enough income to cover these most basic costs and if you’re not, you may want to revisit your business plan and tweak it accordingly to ensure you do what you need to do to get these costs covered. One year, though, will provide you with a financial safety net that will take a lot of the pressure off of you so you can run your donut business worry-free.

Who is the target market?

The ideal client type are coffee drinkers and early morning school and business commuters that require caffeine and sugar to help them start their day. Examples of such clients include university students, business professionals, parents of school age children, and churches on Sunday morning who need several dozen donuts to feed their parishioners. Many businesses make great customers too! Fire stations purchase dozens every week for their people. Corporate office buildings will often stock employee breakrooms with donuts. Factories will quite often bring in donuts for their line crews. You just have to think outside the box and start to understand who your ideal customer is. One of the best things you can do is go talk to someone else who is already operating a donut shop and ask them who their ideal customer is. Listen to what they say, because this will also be true for your own donut shop business.

How does a donut shop make money?

Donut shop businesses make money by charging customers for their primary products, which are donuts and coffee. The price of a donut is between .80 cents and $1.25 and is usually based on the size, type, and quality of the donut. Alternatively, it is possible to charge for larger quantities where you give a discount to customers who purchase a half-dozen or dozen donuts. The average cost of a half-dozen donuts is $5.95, while the average cost of a dozen is $9.99. It may sound like you’re not really making a lot of money selling such a large number of donuts, but keep in mind that the average cost to make a donut is simply .12 cents. This is a substantial markup when you stop to think about it. You will need to sell a lot of dozens per day if you plan to stay in business though, due to the costs we mentioned earlier (rent, advertising, etc.).

A little known donut shop secret is that coffee is where the brunt of the profits comes from. A single cup of coffee averages out to $2.70. The cost to make that one cup averages out to .27 cents. The add-ons are where the real money’s at though. Add milk and chocolate or some flavored syrup to the coffee and the same cup sells for $3.95 per cup. The add-ons are an insignificant cost, but they mean huge profits for your donut shop business.

What you really got going for you is the fact that sugar, which is what donuts are packed full of, and caffeine which is what coffees packed full of, are both addictive stimulants that people can hardly live without. Selling these two items together, well, you stack the deck in your favor, as people will keep coming back again and again, day-after-day, to your donut shop to get their daily fix of sugar and caffeine. It’s been proven that sugar is more addictive than heroin and cocaine.

How much can you charge customers?

You can charge customers more if you’re positioning your brand as an upscale elite brand or less if you decide to target the working class. The exact price hinges on several factors, how much you need to make to reach a certain income average, your costs, and your desire to keep customers happy and coming back to your donut shop. In general, a customer will pay between $7 and $10 per person for donuts and coffee. If they are buying for a group of people, this number goes down as they’ll take advantage of cost savings by purchasing a dozen or more donuts. Coffee is a fixed price though, so the price isn’t discounted if someone purchases four coffees over say just one cup. There is no discount for purchasing additional beverages, just discounts on the donuts.

How much profit can a donut shop make?

A donut shop business can make upwards of $50,000 or more in the first year. Stick with the business and you can earn $100,000 or more in subsequent years. Continue to build your brand, develop your customer base, and sell franchises, and you might reach the $1,000,000 mark or higher after a few short years.

How can you make your business more profitable?

If you want to drive profits with your donut business you have several options. A donut shop business that gives customers the option of other menu items, like for instance breakfast sandwiches, a small lunch menu, etc., can add to your profit margins. There are other actions you can take as well, where you can partner with convenience store chains and get your donuts into these businesses on a daily basis to generate more brand visibility but also more sales. Some donut shop owners decide to partner with food-truck vendors and doing so can be a great way to rake in more profits. The sky"s the limits as far as ways you can generate profits with your donut shop business. Certainly you can use your imagination to come up with other innovative and strategic methods for generating your business.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

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When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

Your state"s business recordsFederal and state trademark recordsSocial media platforms

It"s very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.