Any concessionaires out there doing State Fair mini donuts?

Junior Burger
2013/08/08 20:06:24
Second year in the food concession business.  Looking to add mini donuts (or some other type of baked goods) to my concession menu for the cooler months (fall/spring) to go with my coffees/smoothies and frozen drinks.  But I don't have a trailer and I can't afford nor do I want to get involved with a hot oil machine such as Lil Orbits.  I know all you concessionaires who do have a Lil Orbits machine sell scads of donuts and make boatloads of money  but that's just not for me.  I'm a one woman show, just starting out.  My main business is an italian ice cart and now I want to add to my menu.  Do any of you who sell mini donuts sell the State Fair mini donuts (where you bake them in a conveyor toaster)?  I know the cost of goods is very expensive compared to the Lil Orbits and you could probably only keystone them, not make the 300-400% profit margin you can on the Lil Orbits, but I'm just curious to know how they do for you?  Do they sell?  Do they have an aroma that draws customers?  Can you make a decent markup on them?  Or if any of you concessionaires have ideas for other bake-and-sell bakery items or pre-packaged bakery items (cookies, brownies, cheesecakes) that have done real well in sales for you I'm open to suggestions.   Again already prepared because I'm a lousy baker and more importantly I don't have the funds to add a commercial kitchen on to my house for health regs.  Thanks. - Deb, Upstate NY
Sun Spot
Junior Burger
Re:Any concessionaires out there doing State Fair mini donuts? 2013/08/12 16:18:55
As a mini donut vendor, wanted to clear up some items...   Sun Spot makes and sells mini donuts at fairs, festivals and farmers markets.  Presently I work out of a booth, though planning to move into a 'mobile booth' for quicker set-up and take-down in the coming months (not a food truck, I'm not rich).
I have a Lil Orbits machine.  When I use the 1200 (the small machine) I can run it all by myself and not use any help.  When I run the 2400 (the big machine, I have a propane one), I do need help just because it takes two people to move it into the van I transport it in.  At some events I add coffee/hot chocolate/tea during the colder months and fresh squeezed lemonade when it is warmer outside.
I don't make boatloads of money.  The numbers that Lil Orbits posts on their website is hooey (not at all accurate is a nicer way of saying it).  However, in the mini donut business repeat customers make a huge part of my business.  So if they aren't getting a warm/hot delicious mini donut that is freshly made, they won't come back.  When I do multi-day events, or come back to the same venue week after week, my customer base grows.  The aroma is part of it, and seeing the machine at work is part of it (I have it at the front of the booth behind a plexi-glass screen).  But the hot oil is the scariest part of the business.  And I do have to have a limited food permit, where coffee is 'exempt' in our area.
What did you decide to do?
post edited by Sun Spot - 2013/08/12 16:46:40