An urge to create the best doughnut in the world resulted in artisan doughnuts that are baked rather than fried. Yes, the next time you want to cheat from your meal, the healthier option is coming around. The UK based Dum Dum Doughnuts is soon setting foot in India. In an exclusive interaction with Entrepreneur, Paul Hurley, Founder, Dum Dum Doughnuts ltd. eats into every question with sweet indulgence.
Take us through your journey from a Baker to an entrepreneur.
I started my journey in the 1990s when I joined the master franchise for UK of Dunkin Donuts. After we broke away from Dunkin I asked the question, “how do we make the best doughnut in the world?” Doughnuts hadn’t changed in decades yet technology and consumer demands had all evolved. My thoughts were to take craft doughnut shops of the US and merge them with artisan European Patisserie. Hence, “Donutterie”. I then spent the next 15 years trying to reinvent the doughnut. I moved to France and Italy for three years while developing my patisserie skills and recipes for the new doughnut.
What were your learnings being a part of Dunkin Donuts?
Everybody likes doughnuts. However, not everyone likes being seen eating a doughnut or giving them to their children. There is a guilt associated with eating unhealthy fast-food. Dunkin Donuts started my obsession with perfecting the doughnut but I mainly learned what I wanted to do different.
How did you fund the business over the years?
Although the brand and the baking process took a long time to develop, I always made money by selling unbranded premium doughnuts to large retails such as Starbucks, Pret A Manger, Marks and Spencers, Sainsburys across the UK. Other than that, my family and I have also funded Dum Dums ourselves so as to keep it independent.
How technology has helped you to create great products?
We used technology to reinvent the doughnuts. This has never been done before and is so unique that we received patents across the world. I have always said … Doughnuts have been made for over 100 years by floating dough in a deep fat fryer. Surely we can use technology to improve on this?
How many outlets the brand currently has?
We have four Donutteries in London plus Harrods, with plans to open another 20 stores in the next three years in the UK. Dubai opened this year in Jumeirah Beach Road and we hope to have JBR and DIFC open in the next few months. Abu Dhabi should also be open this year with multiple sites planned.
What kind of growth have you seen from the online segment?
Online reservations and orders are a large part of our business. The introduction of ordering apps makes the working consumer more inclined to order in their lunch break as it simplifies the process.
What are your expansion plans for the Indian market?
We are lucky that we are approached on a regular basis to franchise across Asia and the rest of the world. However, we look for strategic partners in key areas to grow the business as part of the Dum Dums family. We therefore are speaking with a small selection of highlevel partners that can establish Dum Dums in India to the standards that we have achieved in the UK and UAE.
The Indian market already boasts of players like Mad over Donuts and Dunkin Donuts who had the early mover advantage. How do you plan to compete?
Realistically we do not compete with fast food doughnuts. We sit very well in an established market as the artisan alternative and compete more with high-end patisserie concepts. India is a modern country that embraces new concepts. Based on the large Indian community in the UK that buys Dum Dums, we look forward to sharing Dum Dums in India soon.
This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (May 2016 Issue).