On Doughnut Time’s first day of trade in Brisbane, the customers started lining up at 4.30am. On its second day, the city council issued an informal notice to cease trading, because of the huge crowd mobbing the footpath. On day three, that order was made official.
Nine months later, there are four stores in Brisbane and two in the Gold Coast. Next is a rapid expansion throughout Sydney and Melbourne.
Early next week, the brand’s centralised kitchen in Chippendale will open to the public. From next year, it’ll start supplying three permanent stores on King Street in Newtown, Glebe Point Road in Glebe and an unconfirmed location in Bondi. As in Brisbane, these satellite locations won’t be much more than tiny kiosks.
Before then, you can find Doughnut Time at two Topshop pop-ups, which will run indefinitely. The first is already open at Topshop in the CBD, and the other is opening in Chatswood tomorrow.
So what’s all the fuss about? Doughnut Time’s Instagram account is the best place to get an idea. “We go back and talk to the audience through social media,” says owner, Damian Griffiths. “We say, ‘Tell us what you like’. It’s amazing what you get out of that.”
Past creations include Stifler’s Mom, a doughnut filled with apple pie; and Purple Haze, a grape-glazed ring topped with a sour strap. Glazed and Confused is crowned with potato chips; and The Elvis is piped full of raspberry jam, glazed with banana and peanut, then sprinkled with pancetta.
At $6, the elaborate, yeasted rings aren’t cheap, but it’s at least clear why they’re so pricey. “It’s a handmade product, you’re always up against the cost of labour,” Griffiths says.
Griffiths admires the Gelato Messina model and wants Doughnut Time to act in a similar way, with the same varieties being released at every store simultaneously.
To deal with the tough competition here (Woah! Nelly and Grumpy Doughnuts, for example) Griffiths says he’s contemplating going “really late night”, where you can get your doughnut on until 11pm. In Brisbane, at least, this has proven successful.
Doughnut Time will open a store at RB10/10A, Lower Ground Floor, 28 Broadway, Chippendale, this Friday.
Doughnut Time is popping up indefinitely at Topshop CBD and Topshop Chatswood daily from 9am-5pm.