How to Innovate While Staying True

Shipley Do-Nuts creates a true donut shop experience while also branching out.

October 24, 2023

This article is brought to you by Shipley Do-Nuts.


When you have something you know works, you might wonder why you need to add to it or change it. After all, why mess with perfection?

But when you find something that can keep your current customers satisfied and can add new customers, putting that item on your menu makes sense.

While Shipley Do-Nuts was originally known for selling donuts, the store has since become equally well-known for its kolaches—a pastry of Czech origin traditionally filled with fruit and sweet cheese. Shipley puts items such as savory cheese, sausage, ham and jalapeños inside its kolaches, offering customers a meal or snack at any daypart. Customers can come into the store once and cover multiple meals in a single purchase, which has been good for Shipley’s bottom line.

“We’ve stayed true to the classic donut shop experience. We have a very wide assortment of donuts to choose from. Then we’ve added kolaches and a whole new daypart without sacrificing our heritage,” said Mike Stout, senior director of franchise development.

Both the store’s donuts and kolaches are made fresh daily from the same dough—the donuts are fried and kolaches are baked—which means making both remains efficient for Shipley. There’s no need to purchase a ton of extraneous ingredients, so things are kept relatively simple. As a result, the company can make both menu items in a small space using similar equipment. Just like donuts, kolaches pair well with coffee.

“It’s about finding a way to add to your core product without creating a lot of complexity,” Stout said.

The company is working to expand its coffee line—it has a cold brew but is looking further into that realm—and is focused on adding other cold beverages, too. It has implemented a relatively new machine that allows each store to create drinks in a variety of fruit flavors, as well as coffee and energy drinks.

“It’s an exciting development,” said Stout. “We’re innovating and adding new offerings, but we’re going to add to our drinks menu while staying faithful to who we are.”

For more on Shipley Do-Nuts, look for part two of this series on Thursday, October 26.