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Doughnut Food Truck???

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I am ready to move on to a new adventure and am contemplating a doughnut food truck.  We do not have any doughnut shops in the area I live in (medium sized town in the mountains) other than the doughnuts made in the supermarkets.  I have experience working at a doughnut shop and am contemplating opening up a mobile doughnut truck or a food truck.  Anyone have any ideas on the realistic capability of this?  I would like to be able to do make the doughnuts from start to finish in the truck, not just use the truck to sell them.  I want to mix, raise, cut or drop, fry, glaze/frost, decorate and sell the doughnuts all out of the truck itself.  I am currently looking up equipment to be put into a truck and am just needing a little input overall.  Proofing box in the truck?  Full deep fryers vs table top fryers in the truck?  Homemade glaze/icings vs pre-made?

 

Any thoughts on the whole thing?

 

Thanks.

 

Tubs

post #2 of 21

Here in Seattle there's a truck called Street Donuts that's doing it: http://www.streetdonuts.com/

 

Not sure if they have the entire process contained in the truck, though I suspect they aren't doing yeasted donuts. You might try contacting them.

 

I could be wrong, but I have a hard time imagining a truck with enough space to do yeasted donuts in large enough quantity to be profitable, since at a minimum you'd have to have a big mixer, a proofer, space to roll out and cut dough, a fryer (with adequate hood and ventilation), refrigeration, and rack space to store product, not to mention some kind of window with a counter to sell out of. Then you get into what it would take to do different flavors, fillings and toppings.

 

Just wondering why you want to do a truck vs. brick and mortar? Is it the high cost of rent, food truck trend, or lifestyle choice? Around here there seems to be a trend of brick and mortar shops starting trucks that just sell product (Top Pot Donuts is doing this) and businesses that started as trucks opening shops and restaurants.

post #3 of 21

Check with your health department first. In Phoenix, you are not allowed to prep food in the truck. That has to be done at the commissary. I'm also in agreement that you might not have the space to do what you want. Think of how many donuts you need to sell to make a profit and then visualize how much room they're going to need. And if you're going to proof donuts in the truck (I would be surprised that you could by HD standards), you might get into trouble if the proofing times aren't coordinated and you get a big hit.

 

One idea a friend of mine and I came up with (he's a culinary instructor) is to sell the excess pastries made at the school instead of tossing them in the trash every day like they do. We abandoned the idea because we didn't want to get involved with the school's politics. I bring this up because you might be able to do other items as well as donuts to compliment the menu. Good luck!

post #4 of 21

I envision sloshing vats of hot oil...

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 21

I think it can be done, no problem proofing, frying and making the toppings. The only thing I would worry about is showing and displaying your product properly. The whole thing about your homemade donuts is to show them off, so people can pick and choose. There is a Hot Molasada Truck in Hawaii that sells hot out of the fryer Portuguese donuts, they have been doing it for years, so it can be done..........Chefbillyb

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great feed back everyone, I really appreciate it!  I am doing all my research for this now and there is a lot to sort through!  The health department rules and regs are definitely a lot to go through, but I am doing so slowly as to not be caught off guard later!

 

@nightscotsman - I am going food truck vs brick and mortar more due to to the high cost of rent for a storefront.  I do appreciate the new found fame of food trucks, but where I live the idea of a food truck is unique and not really done yet.  There are a few food "trailers" that do crepes and ice cream and sno-cones out here, but not much else.  Certainly not any actual food production.  As for the space needed to do yeast raised doughnuts vs cake doughnuts, besides the proofer, there is not too much else that differs equipment wise - at least not at the donut shop I worked in previously.  We use the same table to roll out the doughnuts that we did to glaze, frost, and decorate them.  We use the same mixer to mix up the yeast raised dough as we did to mix the cake batter.  The proofer is my main concern in finding one that fits in a truck and meets health codes really.

 

Well, there is still a ton to be decided on if this idea will come to work out or not, but if you guys have any other thoughts or ideas, I would love to hear them.

 

Thanks!

 

Tubs

post #7 of 21

you can have an electric proofer cabinet built into a mobile kitchen. 

 

There are many routes to go in mobile kitchens from having them professionally kitted to creating your own out of a box truck and \equipment.  Of course you really do need to work with your dept of health on this one otherwise you could be in for some nasty and costly surprises  and redoes once they do step in .

Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
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Chef Tigerwoman

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post #8 of 21

I have been using one like this for years..............

 

 

Used Metro C175-CM2000 Commercial View Door Mobile Heater Proofer Cabinet

 

post #9 of 21
You can use donut robots that take batter so no proofing or pans to take up space. You can get the robots that make full size and mini donuts too. The it's all about toppings
post #10 of 21

I agree, Not that anyone needs my agreement, LOL.  Non-Yeast Donuts are made in any donut shop with a variety of flavors and toppings.  Yeast donuts need be proofed, Fried, and Glazed/iced at a donut temperature that will ensure the bubbles in the dough after frying and cooling for 30 seconds or so will adhere to the donut as Not to flake or fall off when the donut is cooled off.  Enter 

Belshaw Bakery Donut ThermoGlaze TG-50 with TZ-6 Proofer cabinet.  Purchase all your Donuts Frozen, Pre-made, Pre-fried, and set up your Booth on location serving Hot Donuts and Ready iced Donuts as the Customers Watch & Drool!  My Thought but This is what I have been trying to put together in my mind.

 

Imer B. Whitten, Husband and Partner of the Previous Owner of:

 

The Jelly Donut, 

Grants Pass Oregon

post #11 of 21

Just curious- did you go for the donut truck dream?  It sounds pretty rad, just wondering if you did and how it's going...

post #12 of 21

jayman,,

 

ImerB here.  No I have not gone for the "dream truck" as of Yet, LOL.  Thank you tho for your curiosity. Three Reasons to be precise.  Capital, Capital, Capital.  I have seen links tho for Bakery type trucks that bake Breads, Cinnamon Rolls Etc from an oven in their truck.  I do not know if this is ok to add this link but one example was: http://redding.craigslist.org/bfs/3332122781.html  

 

ImerB

post #13 of 21

I thought I'd give my 2 cents worth. I am in the San Diego area and have been working on the doing Baked Cake type Doughnuts for the casino I work at. It would reduce the cost of a proofer and a space saver. You would be able to work flavors to your artistic side with low waste. It takes only 10 minutes to bake saving time in service.It reduces the fat content in half as it is not fried. And as one Chef cautioned....splashing oil. Good Luck on your venture as I know how hard it is to get your dream off the ground..... but it was worth it for my soul.

post #14 of 21

Hello there!  I just found this thread (and website) because I am also exploring a doughnut food truck.  It looks like your post is a few years old and I wondered if you proceeded with your plan and if so, how it is going.  I am just beginning the process.

 

Best Regards

post #15 of 21

hi - I am also looking into a doughnut truck or trailer - I would love to exchange notes - could help a lot of people achieve their dream

 

in Portland OR

 

August 11 2013

 

four2boyz

post #16 of 21

I recently enjoyed cider fried cake donuts at a concession. delicious. I am researching a mobil donut truck Using Bellshaw Mark II gas unit

in a 8.6' X 12" trailer that can locate a fairs etc. 

 

I like the the idea of little refrigeration and spoilage minimal overhead and working only in the AM. 

 

Would enjoy any feed back good or bad 

post #17 of 21

hi there - thanks for the info...yesterday I started my business plan for a donut cart and met with a small business counselor.  From the sounds of our conversation, there is high return on mini donuts, start up costs for a cart probably up to $12k.....maybe less depending on your situation (ie used vs new).  I suggest you look up "mini donuts" on youtube and look at the lil orbits truck run by 2 girls in Greece (yes Greece) and it seems like the demand never ends.  I am now figuring how profitable I can be and the break even point (ie how many donuts) for the business.  Look forward to more posts and a PM .... I want to figure this out and get something going.

 

Donut machines - Lil Orbits, Belshaw

Trailers - Interstate

Donut mixes - Lil Orbits, Don Majestic

Festival booking - online

Liability insurance - online approx. $299/yr

Check with local health department for restaurant license for a class 3 trailer/truck

Don't need a commissary per inspector since only preparing donuts for immediate consumption and trailer will be at my home.

Inspector said unit will need to be reviewed and inspected only once (approx. $270, then annual food cart license approx. $270)

Also need to check with zoning in your city in case you wish to hang a shingle and start selling donuts...there are exclusions where you can do that unless invited by a business

 

Yes, everywhere I went, the interest was high and they said not too many people making "donuts"

BTW - if you serve coffee, tip.....only use sugar and POWERED creamer...once you have half/half....the inspectors need to inspect more.  So stick to powdered.

post #18 of 21
Hi four2boyz. I'm in Chandler, AZ and I'm also interested in starting a mini donut business. Your post is really helpful. My partner and I have decided on a Belshaw rather than Lil Orbits for the quality of the machine. From my research the former machine is double in price but I heard it's more reliable; plus I've seen it in action at Pike Place and Pier 39. Although I still want to visit the manufacturer before investing on the machine. I too have watched many videos on YouTube and seen the video you talked about in Greece.

Have you started your business yet? Currently my partner and I are still in the research phase. Any other tips or roadblocks would be helpful. Thank you and good luck!
post #19 of 21

Hi all.  My husband and I own a mobile mini donut concession business. Thought I would share some info. Our initial investment was $10,000 in June of 2012.

 

We do not have a truck or a trailer, only a 10 x 10 foot portable kiosk that we haul with our Suburban and a trailer. With the kiosk, the weather plays a huge role in our business, however, we like the fact that our customers can walk up and watch the donut making process. Set up and tear down times are about an hour each. That is with 2 of us working. 

 

We have a Lil Orbits 1200 series model automated machine. We bought new for the warranty (which is lifetime) but you should know that using any mix other than what you buy directly from Lil Orbits will void that warranty. Do your homework on this. The cost of the mix itself is not high and we love the quality. The problem is that the shipping cost is a huge factor. We never dreamed this would cut into our profitability as much as it has. 

 

The machine is easy to use, clean and assemble. People really love to watch the process. They will stand forever and just watch. Once you offer them a sample donut, they are hooked. 

 

All cities are not food truck friendly. We were "uninvited" to an event this past year b/c the powers that be did not want "that type of feel" for the downtown area. (it was a group of vendors that were uninvited, not just us). Just something to think about if there are not alot of food trucks in your area. 

 

We love attending festivals and events, meeting people and spending time together as a family. We are not getting rich! We rely on 2 full-time jobs and do this on the weekends. I can't imagine that either of us could quit our jobs at this point and do this full-time. It is more of a "hobby" income so far :) 

 

I hope this is helpful. Please ask questions if you have them. I will do my best to help. Good luck in all your ventures!

post #20 of 21

Hello ZBLT,

 

Are you required to use a commissary kitchen for your food prep where you're located? Where I'm located, we have to be associated with a commissary kitchen, and any mobile unit has to remain parked there when not in use. For me, following these rules and maintaining profitability looks impossible.   

post #21 of 21

Update - I have to apologize cuz I don't check this website often - only if I googled it by accident. Update - I bought a ss1200 lil orbits machine with and outdoor cart - and an indoor cart with downdraft hood and fire suppression system - just got used this week. I am in process of getting local food cart permit -hope to get up and running within 2 weeks - How about you? I would like to share with you about your experience because I am still learning too cheers -

 

Couple things I learned -

 

In my county need a commissary - found one about 5 miles away that will let me wash my 2 bowls and spatulas for $15/month - pretty cheap

In my county - the donut cart must have an ATTACHED sink with HOT AND COLD running water - to wash your hands

 

More later -

 

Cheers

 

Richard

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