Mini Donuts, a Highly Profitable Concession Business


The aroma drifts across the Midway, or maybe it’s when you go into that convenience store. No matter, nothing draws people in better then the smell of fresh hot donuts. Dipped in cinnamon sugar, and eaten hot and fresh from the fryer. This time of year when the Home and Sport shows are bringing people out after a long winter hibernating at home. You can easily tell by the long line at the booth, which food concession is selling those wonderful little round donuts.
Did you ever think about being on the opposite side of the counter, the side where all the money is taken. Mini donuts are the main stay of most any carnival, street sale, fair, or event where a lot of people get together. Do you wonder why that’s the case, for one thing everyone loves them and are drawn in by the aroma. The other reason the concession stands selling these hot fresh pastry’s are so prolific is the huge profit margin they provide for the owner of the little automatic machine that runs merrily along dropping rounds of dough from the hopper into the hot oil.

Not only are many of these machines fully automatic, they are also fun to watch. The little rings of batter drop down and as they move along the long narrow fryer, they’re automatically flipped over to cook on the over side. Then they come along and flip out of the oil onto a pan filled with cinnamon sugar, and get scooped up while nice and hot and placed into a convenient little wax paper bag to be immediately delivered to the hands of a family member.

About that profit margin, I bet you didn’t realize that the proprietor of this busy little enterprise has about .25 cents invested into the materials for that bag of little donuts that just cost you somewhere between $3.00 and $4.00. Not a bad markup. Of course this doesn’t factor in the investment in equipment, or hired help to operate the stand. But none the less, thats pretty big potential to make some serious money.

One company stands way out front in the business of Mini Donuts, thats Lil Orbits. Since 1974 they claim to have sold 12 Billion Donuts through their franchise operations. That’s enough to satisfy a lot of sweet tooth’s. Their web site is a wealth of information on the subject of donuts.

Start up cost for such a venture can run anywhere from a few thousand to $15,000 or more. It’s all hinged on how elaborate you plan on going, and where you intend to sell your product. If you plan on doing business in your local Mall for instance, you will probably be required to include ventilation, fire extinguishing systems, as well as a quality display and serving station that offers protection to the customers from the cooking process. This can all add up to a substantial investment before you see any money coming in.

Portable concessions that can still make big bucks while giving you the flexibility to set up business for an afternoon, two day event, of week long carnival, can require less up front money. You may see someone set up in an older travel trailer that has been converted for food sales, set up at a convenience store during a sale promotion, or at a car dealership during a special sale.

Used donut equipment comes available regularly on E-Bay. There are websites that specialize in selling used Mini Donut equipment as well as other concession equipment is one example.

Beware Lil Orbits has a policy that their used machines, if bought other then directly from Lil Orbits, are not covered under their limited life time warranty. To that end if you need replacement parts for a non-covered machine, the price will be extremely expensive.

Lil Orbits isn’t the only fish in the pond. Belshaw is another manufacturer that makes quality equipment and has been around for a long time as well.

Whether providing a nice secondary income, or investing for the purpose of making this your full time career, Mini Donut concessions can be very lucrative. Do your homework, be sure to check with your local government concerning licensing, and health department regulations well before you invest in any equipment.

When you’ve got your paper work in order, go ahead and take the plunge. This may be the start of a whole new life for you.


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