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How An Unattainable Donut Made My Business Better

I’ve been to a myriad of fancy New York City bakeries. I’ve even enjoyed a French pastry (or 10) in Paris before. Those experiences were obviously amazing, but the best cruller I’ve ever had was made by the grocery store bakery in Spanish Fork, Utah.

I wouldn’t make this stuff up. I even sang to the cruller.

IN FACT, my biggest hesitation with writing this blog post at all is that the rest of you would find out about these amazing crullers and then my supply would be even more limited than it already is.

The grocery store bakery makes crullers daily. Clarification: The grocery store bakery makes four crullers daily. Never any more. Never any fewer. It’s always four.

I know I’m not the only person that loves these crullers. Even though I’ve told almost no one about their delicate, flaky, pastry dough covered in a light glaze that makes angels sing, they’re still the first thing to disappear every single morning.

I’ve been there at six am, at a time when every other donut in the glass display case is untouched, yet there’s one empty space where the cruller’s used to be. None of the other donuts are even worth buying. You know it’s bad when you go to all the work of being to the bakery bright and early, and you don’t even want a consolation donut because your favorite delicious pastry isn’t available.

There’s a point to this. I promise.

I’ve probably been going to the grocery store bakery once per week, for the better part of a year now. My success rate in getting one or two of those amazing bundles of melt-in-your-mouth goodness is probably about 50%. Some day’s the tray is empty, and other days luck is with me and I get to enjoy a delicious breakfast treat.

The Bakery Still Doesn’t Recognize Their Own Secret Weapon

The cruller disappearance has become a running joke between the nice ladies at the bakery and me. They’ve seen the light in my eyes as I walk up to the display case, only to turn and walk away empty-handed. I’ve told them point blank they should get rid of every other donut, and only sell crullers.

You’d sell out every day,” I tell them.

We’ll see what we can do,” they reply.

Yet nothing changes.

Every single day there’s a race for the crullers, and with demand so high you’d think they’d start considering making six crullers one day. Maybe, just once they could double the recipe? Maybe?

The ironic thing is that I’ve been to the same grocery at the very end of the day and the maple-glazed old fashioned donuts are always still there. Nobody wants those. Maple-glazed old fashioned? They have “old” right in the name.

I guarantee they throw away the same variety of donuts every single night, but because of some kind of corporate hoop that has to be jumped through, or a manager that “has been doing it this way for years,” they’ve been losing money every single day, and missing opportunity on higher revenues because they aren’t delivering what they people are clearly showing them they want.

The Business Connection

Three or four months ago it clicked for me. What are my customers wishing I’d provide? What are my crullers and what are my maple-glazed old fashioned? What should we provide more of, and what should we cut cause it’s a complete waste of time and energy?

We started looking more closely at how people were using our service, and we even started asking them directly what we can do better. We learned so much. Some of the answers I suspected, but there were just as many things that I never would have even considered, and some of them were so good that we’re working on integrating them into our core offering.

Customers are quick to share what they wish we’d do better. We just need to give them a chance to be heard, and then we need to listen, and then we need to adapt and deliver more crullers.

Do you know what your crullers are? Do you know what your maple-glazed old fashioned are? What are you doing to make sure you keep your customer’s hunger satisfied?