Disrupting Donuts

How Dough broke into the industry to become the go-to doughnut of the stars

Dough Doughnuts began as a small business in Bed-Stuy and in less than 10 years’ time, they grew into a city-wide favorite among celebrities, businesses, and international tourists. Their oversized brioche-style dough gives them a unique look and texture to any other breakfast pastry and many have taken notice, including people like Chrissy Teigen, Kevin Durant, Conor McGregor, Christie Brinkley, and Stephen Colbert just to name a few. They can even be seen in the hit HBO original series Billions.

Steve Klein, co-owner of Dough Doughnuts, said that growing up he went to school in Canarsie with world-renowned businessman and author, Howard Schultz, who is best known as the former CEO of Starbucks. It was during Schultz’s reign as the coffee shop king that Klein first had the idea to get into the doughnut business.

“What goes with coffee? Doughnuts!” Klein said. “It’s like a match made in heaven.”

At the time, there had not been a national doughnut chain since 1968 when Dunkin Donuts officially went public.

Klein started by seeking out a talented chef and his French partner, who he said had a top-notch product but “no vision.” The two quickly became partners and began to figure out a business plan that would help spread their unique doughnut recipe all across the city.

The Dough brand began by testing their oversized doughnuts at Smorgasburg events in Brooklyn. Based on the overall reception they soon began to expand by providing their superior product in stores and local coffee shops throughout the city.

Dough barista Emily Suarez has been working at the Astoria location for almost a year.

Having built the business from scratch, they began to put a business plan into action, but things didn’t go so easy at the start. They found that they needed to balance the cost of goods and it took them time in order to learn from their mistakes before they were finally able to synergize the plan with the product.

In October of 2014, they officially opened their Flatiron location at 14 W 19th Street in Manhattan. Today, this location serves as their central kitchen, where all of the doughnuts are hand-made and prepared fresh for customers to enjoy.

Following the success at their other locations, they soon opened up their first Queens location in Astoria. Less than a block from Ditmars Avenue, their shop at 21-70 31st Street is conveniently located right in the heart of the Astoria community. Today they are open in five different locations spread out across the five boroughs.

Klein said that when it came to the Astoria location, understanding real estate was essential. He picked his location carefully, hoping to provide people with easy “Grab-n-Go” access which made the storefront’s parking and subway access pivotal to the plan.

“We’re going to be a destination,” Klein said in regards to his plans for the company. “We can’t just be a fad.”

Since the company began they have grown to be the largest artisanal donut company in the city. They are open 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year, and were one of the few companies to continue to produce through the pandemic.

In fact, during the pandemic Dough Doughnuts began its own donating platform, providing entire hospitals with their tasty oversized pastries for free.

So, what could possibly be next for this delectable doughnut company?

Currently, they are working in partnership with Nintendo to create a pink Kirby doughnut in preparation for the upcoming launch of Kirby and the Forgotten Land on Nintendo Switch.

Klein said they hope to continue to scale their operation to try and go national and possibly even international. They are also working on coming up with new types of infused doughnuts that nobody has ever done before.

All of their products are hand-made with organic ingredients and certified Kosher. And they even offer vegan doughnuts for those who don’t partake of eggs and dairy. Their locations also provide delivery through DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats. They also ship nationwide, and while they do not provide wholesale any longer, they still provide large orders for catering.

To learn more about the company and its locations visit their website at doughdoughnuts.com.

FAQS

Q: Did You Know?

Doughnuts were first introduced by Dutch settlers on their voyage to New York City

Q: How many people do you have on staff?

40 employees total

Q: How many doughnuts do you make each day?

Approximately 4,000 doughnuts are made each day.

Q: Where can I find these doughnuts?

We have locations at Rockefeller Center, Urbanspace Vanderbilt, and the Flatiron Building in Manhattan. We also have locations in Astoria, Queens and on Vanderbilt Ave. in Brooklyn.

Q: What are some popular flavors?

Plain Glaze & Cinnamon Sugar, but Dulce de Leche and Nutella are close runner-ups.

Q: How many pounds of flour do you use a month?

10,000 pounds of flour.

Q: About how many doughnuts do you make a month?

Approximately 90,000 doughnuts are made a month.

Q: How often do you change your flavors?

We have all-year round flavors you can find all the time. We try to change the menu ever month to two months based on the season.

Q: What are some other flavors?

Blueberry Lemon, Hibiscus, Lychee Rose, Passion Fruit, Raspberry White Chocolate, Salted Chocolate Carmel, Peanut butter Crunch, and Boston Cream.

Q: Are your doughnuts gluten- free?
No, but you never know, we might develop something in the future.

Q: Do you offer different sized doughnuts?

At the stores, our sizes are always the same, about 4 inches but you can order party doughnuts (about 3.5 inches) or mini (about 3 inches).

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