Puffies Donuts: Building a business on fresh hot donuts

Another busy day for Alexander Thomas: serving customers at Puffies Donuts store in Centro Roselands.

Alexander Thomas knew what he wanted when he set out to find a new business opportunity. He wanted an established business, one that offers good value.

Puffies Donuts, at Centro Roselands shopping centre, fits the bill. Puffies Donuts has been at the centre since 1967, two years after Centro Roselands opened as Sydney’s first enclosed shopping centre. Alexander Thomas bought Puffies Donuts in 2003, and with determination, hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, has made the business synonymous with hot, freshly made cinnamon donuts. Cinnamon donuts, jam-filled donuts, and the mini iced ones are the store’s most popular products.

Location, location, location

Puffies Donuts is at Level 1 of Centro Roselands Shopping Centre, about 15 kilometers from Sydney CBD. The store is situated near one of the entrance doors from the carpark, the business is right at a high traffic area in the shopping centre.

Although Thomas believes that donuts are not typically a destination product, he has customers who travel all way to his store just to get freshly cooked donuts.

Fresh donuts anytime

Who could resist a freshly cooked donut, especially when you can even watch it cook to perfection in a matter of seconds?

Donuts mean different things to many people: it is something warm and filling, a satisfying treat on a cold winter’s day, a sweet and delicious snack, a quick bite after sports, children’s reward for being on their best behavior at the shops.

Donuts come in all shapes and sizes, too: most are round, some have holes, and some don’t. There are also bar-shaped donuts, as well as twisted crullers and other fancy shapes. There are glazed donuts, iced donuts, filled donuts, plain ones or coated in sugar. There are cake donuts and yeast-raised ones. But whatever the form, donuts are best eaten while they are fresh, and when they are prepared right before your eyes, how much fresher can they get?

Belshaw Donut Robots

Donut machines, such as the Belshaw Donut Robot Fryers and Systems make the preparation of donuts fast and efficient. And putting the automated process on show by a shop window is a sure way to draw customers.

Such is the reliability and performance of Belshaw Donut Robot Fryers and Systems that these are used by donut manufacturers in retail and commercial environments. Belshaw has spent over 40 years developing automated systems. Belshaw Donut Robot Fryers and Systems are exclusively distributed in Australia by RVO Enterprises.

How Donut Robots work

Donut batter in depositor

Batter pushed out from depositor into hot oil

Cooked donuts were collected at the Roto Cooler

Donuts are dipped in sugar-cinnamon mix

Puffies Donuts uses a Belshaw Mark 2 Donut Robot, which is capable of producing 31-120 dozen donuts per hour depending on the product size, frying temperature and composition of product.

The donut batter is poured into the depositor from which batter is pushed out into the hot cooking oil. The donuts then move along the conveyor, where these will be automatically flipped over at just the precise moment.

A glazing fountain can be attached at a point along the conveyor so donuts can pass through the cold glaze. Otherwise, the donuts, once fully cooked, complete their journey by dropping on to the Roto Cooler collection plate at the exit ramp of the fryer. The donuts can then be coated with sugar or cooled for icing or filling.

The Belshaw Mark 2 Donut Robot can fry 2 full-size or 4 miniature donuts across each conveyor row. By changing the plunger attachment, the machine can make plain, star, cruller, ball, dunkerette, small crescent or large crescent shaped cake donuts.

Creating a point of difference

With the Donuts Robot’s capability with shapes and handling different donut mixtures, Alexander Thomas is keen on creating new donut products.

“I was making raspberry and cream donuts, banana and chocolate donuts, cheesecake donuts, pecan and caramel, custard donuts. I was making a different donut everyday. They’re very, very popular, particularly the cheesecake ones.”

“I really wanted to make a point of difference, it’ll just take some time. It’s just a question of having someone in front to serve while at the back I’m making donuts.”

Donut Cakes

Thomas also creates donut cakes, which started when he was approached by his daughter’s daycare teacher, to make cakes for birthdays.

“So I made a bunch of donuts and stack them together to make cakes. The designs evolved over time. I put together a couple of ideas, and people liked them. Donut cakes are unique (they make a wonderful conversation piece) and practical, too (easy to serve, no need for a knife). I always get a good feedback on them.”

Equipment Service

Machines need maintenance and service, especially when they are being used for many hours each day. He reckoned that his Donut Robot, which was bought in the ’80s, by his calculations, have already made some 12 million donuts over the years.

“I’m fortunate because I’m close by RVO; the service is always quick turnaround.”

Alexander concludes, “I found RVO technicians very efficient. Chris (RVO Service Technician), particularly, is very mindful of the fact that this is my business. He knows that if the machine is not working it affects my business, and quickly gets it done. I really appreciate this type of service.”

Contact Details:

Puffies Donuts

Phone: +61 2 9759 1129

email: puffiesdonuts@yahoo.com.au

Address: Level 1, Shop 8, Centro Roselands,
Roselands Drive, ROSELANDS NSW 2196

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