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. Let’s start with two examples. Four years ago, Duck Donuts opened its first franchise store in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Hurts Donut Co. opened its first store in Springfield, Missouri. 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 percent of sales.
Since that time, Duck Donuts has grown to more than 50 locations, with another 130 under contract, in 22 states. Hurts Donut, now a $23 million company, is up to 15 stores, with nine pending, in nine states. 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. We work nonstop tirelessly seven days a week,” says Tim Clegg, who founded Hurts Donut with his wife, Kas, the donut lover of the family. And, oh by the way, the Cleggs have four young children (the oldest is 11, the youngest 3). “We’ve got our hands full. There’s no sitting still in our lives.”
Meanwhile, Russ DiGilio, founder of Duck Donuts, transformed a simple wish to enjoy a fresh, warm donut while on vacation with his family into one of the most successful donut franchises in the country. Everything is made to order, and customers get to choose their favorite icing, topping and drizzle. It’s like Pie Five Pizza for donuts.