Facts You Probably Didn't Know About The Dapper Doughnut

If you're lucky enough to live in one of the 10 or so North American markets where The Dapper Doughnut has franchises, you're probably aware of these adorable, made-to-order mini-treats. While some Dapper Doughnut entrepreneurs have full-size locations in strip malls, in other markets, The Dapper Doughnut operates food trucks and trailers that make appearances at festivals or on city streets looking for customers with a sweet tooth to satisfy (via the official website).

Established in 2015, the Las Vegas-based company has a presence in parts of the South and Midwest, California, and in Calgary and Toronto, Canada. With adorable and artistic presentations and crave-worthy flavors from the traditional Honey Glazed and Cinnamon Sugar to the more creative Birthday Cake, Samoa, Turtle, Funnel Cake, Lemon Cream, Salted Caramel, and more flavors, these little treats are just too cute and tasty not to try. Here's the lowdown on these stylish donut shops.

Sweet childhood memories inspired the CEO

Mark Publicover, CEO and co-founder of The Dapper Doughnut, developed his affinity for the classic fried cake treats as a kid. Like many pre-teens, the executive's first job was delivering newspapers in his home town of San Jose, California. According to The Dapper Doughnut's website, Publicover was part of a group of neighborhood paperboys who would deliver their papers, then gather at a Maple Leaf Donuts shop in San Jose for a post-route treat. 

The shop (there are still several of them in the San Jose area) served hot, freshly-fried donuts, and these delicious and comforting cake creations left a lifelong impression on Publicover. According to the Jackson Free Press, Publicover bought into The Dapper Doughnut startup concept, along with brothers Brian and Jeff Pappas (via Franchising Candidates), for a brand that created hot, fresh donuts, and launched it in 2015. The Las Vegas-based company's branding includes a donut wearing a little bow tie alluding to the sophisticated style of these miniature baked goods, which are very dapper indeed.

Dapper specializes in mini-cake donuts

The Dapper Doughnut is unique in that it sells only miniature cake donuts. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, there is only one other donut chain selling these petite treats, and it's called Peace, Love & Little Donuts, based in Pittsburgh. Fresh out of the fryer, many find these bite-size treats to be the perfect size, with just 80 calories each before toppings are added.

Unlike Krispy Kreme, Dunkin', or other popular chains whose offerings include mostly yeast donuts, The Dapper Doughnut makes only cake-style versions, which feature a crunchier exterior and a denser, heavier texture than their airier, lighter, yeasty cousins (per Bon Appétit). Dapper Doughnuts, which lets franchisees operate in everything from food trucks to mall kiosks to traditional storefronts, fries up the donuts in small batches so they're always hot, moist, and fresh. Each is then finished to order by employees. Employees, who are called "doughnut decorators" (via Springfield Business Journal), add the toppings, which sounds like a pretty amazing job for anyone who loves sweets.

Dapper Doughnuts are made to order

There are 21 variations (including three seasonal varieties) on The Dapper Doughnut's menu, according to the official website. Of course, because each one is topped to order, you can mix and match any of their proprietary toppings, which include house-made sauces (or "drizzles"). If you want to order off-menu, one of the options is the Bananas Foster, which combines caramel sauce, cinnamon, graham cracker crumbs, and of course, banana slices. 

We also love the bright and nostalgic Fruity Pebbles donut with vanilla drizzle and topped with the classic cereal. The Choc Powdered donut is coated in The Dapper Doughnut's sweet chocolate powdered sugar. In Fall, the seasonal Maple Jo features a coffee-maple flavored drizzle and chocolate sprinkles. Perfect for the holiday season, there's also a Peppermint Vanilla option featuring vanilla drizzle topped with festive pieces of broken red and white Andes peppermint candies. You can buy Dapper Doughnuts in packs of six ($4.99), 12 ($7.99), 24 ($14.99), or 48 ($27.99), per The Dapper Doughnut.

There are even donuts in the drinks

What's a donut without a great cup of coffee to go with it? (Or, for some, to dunk their donut in!) The Dapper Doughnut's coffee game is also strong with a lineup of drinks, including lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, and chai teas.

Even more intriguing, however, are The Dapper Doughnut's milkshakes and hot chocolates, which contain pieces of donut mixed inside. Any menu item can be turned into a milkshake so you can sip, rather than eat, your favorite treat, if that's your thing. Similarly, hot chocolate gets the same VIP treatment, topped with whipped cream plus the drizzles and toppings of your favorite baked good. 

The S'mores Doughnut Hot Chocolate, for instance, gets marshmallows, graham cracker crumbs, and chocolate drizzle. The beverages are garnished with a plain miniature donut, too. Finally, the chain also offers ice cream sundaes topped with a donut plus your favorite toppings. 

Buying a Dapper Doughnut franchise is pretty affordable

Think owning a stylish donut shop sounds like the perfect career? We don't disagree, and while it's not as expensive as some restaurant franchises (McDonald's can cost you between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000, says Investopedia), you'd still better have a few pennies saved if you want own and operate your very own Dapper Doughnut. The good news for budding entrepreneurs is that they can start small. There are a variety of location types available to potential franchisees. According to The Dapper Doughnut, they include a traditional fixed location, such as a shopping center, a food trailer, or a food truck. And, says Franchise Gator, there's the option for a mall kiosk, which requires just 150 square feet of retail space.

Dapper Doughnut says it requires franchisees to have a net worth of at least $350,000, and they should to be able to access $100,000 in cash to pay for start-up costs. Franchise Gator says you should anticipate a total investment of about $58,000 to $265,000. The Dapper Doughnut also offers third-party financing to its franchisees. So, if you love donuts, this might be the business opportunity you've been waiting for all along.