The collapse of Crumbs Bake Shop signified the cupcake craze may have ended. Not that the love of cupcakes is gone but that the never ending buzz over cupcakes may be over for now…until someone makes some kind of hybrid cupcake.
New Yorkers have stopped waiting in long lines for cupcakes and are now sugar-hungry for the doughnut. It’s almost three years later and a line still forms as early as 4am outside Dominique Ansel Bakery for the Cronut. In October 2014, Dough opened it’s second location in the Flatiron District and found lines around the block during the week of the grand opening.
The excitement over artisan doughnuts is what is driving this new trend. It has a lot to do with seasonal flavors and artisan techniques that make their doughnuts so popular. Who waits in line at 2pm or even 4am for a doughnut? It’s got to be one hell of doughnut! The Doughnut Plant and new comer, Dough Loco have seen similar success. And we’ll always have the classics like the Donut Pub and Dunkin Donuts….you know, when doughnuts were just for breakfast or a late night snack.
We’ve seen the doughnut craze happen before and then crash like a sugar-high with Krispy Kreme over two decades ago. I have a sweet tooth but always found Krispy Kreme’s doughnuts just too sweet. The cause of Krispy Kreme’s problem started with the classic scenario: it grew too big, too fast. When you have one or two locations, you’re popular product will have high traffic, but once you open 20 stores in the same city your traffic becomes diluted. This may have been the same issue with Crumbs Bake Shop.
Crumbs Bake Shop surprised some when they suddenly shut their doors. You can’t just make one product anymore. In order to run a successful business with the high rent in NYC, you have to be diversified. How many people are going to want a giant cupcake at 10am? How many people will want a cup of coffee and a pastry or bagel at 10am. Crumbs Bake Shop has reopened with a diversified menu of options.
Doughnut spots have learned to diversify their menus and offer complementary products that make them not just a bakery but a destination for their loyal customers. Even the iconic Donut Pub, which has been around since 1964, sells sandwiches, cupcakes, scones and bagels along with its signature doughnuts. Dough has aligned partnerships with local retailers to sell their sodas, cookies and candy inside its retail location. The Doughnut Plant is constantly changing and adding doughnut flavors to keep customers engaged. They also offers coffee, tea, milk, plant-based milk, fresh brewed juices and ice cream. They’re also taking doughnuts to the next level with brand partnerships like the recent cross-selling with Shake Shack to add it doughnuts to their concrete shakes!