Founder Lokesh Bharwani’s passion for food encouraged him to develop the Mad Over Donuts brand in Singapore. After analyzing several countries for determining the brand’s first store location including Singapore, Thailand, and the UAE, India was the chosen launch platform due to the high potential of the country and that the opportunity of being a first-mover in this new segment of the F&B industry.
“Mad Over Donuts is one of the Country’s fastest growing brands in the quick service restaurant (QSR) space. It started out as the first organized retail chain to serve donuts in India,” says COO, Mad Over Donuts, Tarak Bhattacharya.
The donut chain has a flexible store format and has store sizes ranging from 80 sq. ft. to under 1,000 sq. ft. This gives the brand access to prime retail space across the metros that it operates in.
The launch of the first store in 2008 at Noida was the start of an unbelievably exciting journey. With the encouragement of an overwhelming response, the brand grew steadily in the first few years before embarking on a more aggressive expansion plan. That decision to change gears and expedite the growth in itself was a major turning point in the brand’s evolution and has shaped Mad Over Donuts into what it is today.
“The biggest challenge when the brand was launched was to introduce donuts in a market where this concept did not exist at all. People were only used to the plain sugar donut that was one of the many items at their local bakery. Mad Over Donuts did a lot of sampling to expose customers to the variety the brand had to offer and fortunately has never looked back,” says Bhattacharya.
In terms of the flavours that customers in India prefer, that seems to be on par with what has been researched on the Western countries. However, there is a large difference in the day parts where they see the most consumption.
In the U.S., donuts are mostly enjoyed in the morning when people are commuting to work and they pick up a dozen donuts for their co-workers along with their morning coffee. In India, they are enjoyed more as a snack or as a dessert option.
“With its eggless gourmet donuts, the brand has reached out to an entirely new audience that can now savour the western delicacy while still respecting their food preferences,” says Bhattacharya.
Over the last several years, patrons got to taste ‘Kookies’ in 2015, a range of new beverages in 2014, innovative ‘Cakelings’ – Mad Over Donuts’ take on cupcakes in 2013 and the novel ‘Bites’ in 2012 which is Mad Over Donuts premium gift box with bite-sized donuts – all of which have been well received.
Giving an Edge
It takes a lot of work to keep the brand experience fresh and Mad Over Donuts is always working towards achieving this. It’s always listening to its customers – keenly observing what they like and what they would like to see more of.
The brand imports many of the ingredients used to make its donuts and only uses high quality chocolate and other ingredients to ensure quality and consistency.
“In addition to this, every 45 days, Mad Over Donuts introduces a range of limited-time flavours that are not part of its regular menu. These flavours are especially created based on customer feedback and seasonality. A few other brands can boast of such frequent menu introductions,” says Bhattacharya.
Consumer is the King
Mad Over Donuts constantly strives to delight its guests with unmatched products and offerings. Its youthful and colorful brand personality has connected well with its patrons.
“The brand recently launched a unique Sweet Rewards Loyalty Program that rewards regular patrons for their purchases. It also has a strong social media presence through the various platforms and has created several events that it promotes throughout the year where fans of the brand can enjoy donuts at promotional prices,” reveals Bhattacharya.
Currently, Mad Over Donuts have 43 stores in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Bangalore in various store formats – cafés, food court outlets, kiosks and takeaway stores. And all the outlets are company owned.
Mad Over Donuts has a large number of takeaway orders with many customers opting to buy a box of 6 or 12 donuts to either take home for their family or share with their co-workers.
To cater to the customer needs, Bhattacharya reveals, “The team is constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to engage with our consumers and to keep the Mad Over Donuts experience fresh and exciting.”
He added, “In addition to the limited-time flavour campaigns introduced every six weeks, some of the more consumer-centric activities we hold include ‘Donut Day’ which is celebrated on the third Friday of June every year – donuts are sold at half price and the response is phenomenal. There is also a special ‘Orange t-shirt’ activity where the first 50 customers who wear orange to visit a store win free donuts for a month.”
Donuts are category that extends across all major demographic groups. So, the customers of the brand includes kids, grandparents and everyone in between.
In the current financial year, Mad Over Donuts will open another 15 outlets across Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Bangalore.