I’d like to introduce you to Patrick Ruddell. He is the CEO of a new food business based out of Tampa, FL, and I have watched him from idea conception to leasing his current location to his spectacular growth, and he was kind enough to share some of the ingredients of his success.
Patrick, I really love your story because of how recently and how fast your Mini Doughnut Factory has achieved your reputation in your community. In fact, you have amassed 100 reviews on yelp in less than 100 days… how did you do it?
Many factors have played major roles in our rapid success, social media presence, location, amazing one of a kind products not done anywhere else in the country and customer service. We treat everyone of our customers as if they were family. Something that has been lost in today’s business is customer service, in our store you are not just a number or an order, you are family!
You certainly don’t look like you eat doughnuts on a regular basis. How did you come up with your concept and of course your incredible product?
Fitness is an important part of our lives, any food in moderation is ok. We strongly believe in a healthy relationship with food, so if we want to eat three to six of our mini doughnuts daily we do. The key is to balance that out with a healthy active lifestyle.
At first we wanted to do large doughnuts. After some input from a friend and market research we realized that if we went mini, it would be a new never offered before product. Consumers love variety, our minis offer exactly that.
One thing I have heard from a friend of mine who visited your extremely busy location is that it is quite an experience. What did you do to plan this experience and find your marketplace opportunities, and why are so many people talking about how remarkable it is?
We knew that whatever we did had to be a full show. When a customer walks in they first smell our freshly baked doughnuts which are done right out front (no back kitchen), they then see our professionally photographed images on the walls and other customer boxes of minis being made and lastly, if the line is too long we walk over to everyone handing out hot fresh samples so they know exactly what they are waiting for and that it is worth the wait.
You seem to have an incredible social media strategy, can you tell us how you developed your plan and what you do daily to maintain your social media strategy?
Our social media strategy is simple, each box has to be worthy of a Facebook and or Instagram picture. My wife and I have both thrown away minis if they do not pass this test. By insuring a beautiful visual product, what we believe art, we are providing a perfect image for consumers to share on social media.
When we spoke in September as you were settling in on your first location, IdealSpot provided you a location score of 73 for this location. That is pretty remarkable. How did you find this first location and what are you doing to plan your next location?
For the first location we purchased a pre-existing doughnut business and changed everything. One of the helpful tools in that decision process was IdealSpot. As you point out the score was 73 which as explained very good for our odds of success. We are currently raising money for more locations and will definitely look to IdealSpot for guidance again.
You consider yourself a small mom and pop shop but you come of as someone who really has their act together. We can see it in your social media, in the amazing pictures that get shared, all those reviews, etc. What is behind all this success?
We are a small mom and pop shop, because it is a small family owned and operated business. And no matter what size we grow to, it will always be a small family business to us. Our kids, 11 and 13 are learning everything as we go, great education for them and training for our future CEO and CFO.
We utilize so many tools in our business, social media, Yelp, Facebook and Google for all of the search information and reviews, product manufacturers, paper companies for cups and boxes, our Verizon phone and internet which allows us to take the countless amounts of phone orders and offer WiFI in-store for customers. I love it, some of our college students and business professionals will come work for hours while enjoying our minis and coffee. Too many services and tools to list that help make us an overall great business.
Any other things you want to share with us about your incredible growth, etc.
We are currently in several investor discussions looking to expand this one of a kind product quickly throughout the country. First within the Tampa Bay area and continue outward. We are also answering and discussing franchise requests all the way from Denver, Colorado to Baltimore, Maryland. So many exciting things going on for us. That is all we care to share at this point, but quick growth is very important to us.
Congratulations Patrick. We look forward to your continued success. If you are in the Tampa area make sure to stop by and let Patrick and family know that you found the ideal spot for mini doughnuts.