So for my first real blog about Ralph's Bakery, I want to talk donuts. Donuts make up a big portion of our bakery business. I have customers come up to me all the time and say how much they like our donuts. I tell them the real secret to our success is the fact that we still fry our donuts fresh each and every day, 365 days a year. New Years, Christmas, Thanksgiving; someone is there making donuts every night. No pre-fried then frozen donuts here. The reason why most donuts taste the same is because they are. They buy them from a warehouse all ready to go, just heat and ice. Blech!
I had a customer a couple weeks ago that told me she went to Voodoo Donuts in Portland and she wasn't impressed. She said ours were better. I've had customers tell me they come from across town to get our donuts because they are the best. I want to tell everyone that says all these wonderful things about our donuts how much I appreciate what they say. I try really hard to bring my customers the best possible products and my efforts are more than rewarded when you say such great things. I am always trying to improve what we do and I appreciate your suggestions and comments, good or bad.
As far as variety, I try to introduce different flavors. Our Maple Bacon bars have become a staple because everyone talks about them and asks for them. People either love them or won't even try them. Personally I think they are great. The saltiness of the bacon cancels out a lot of the sweetness of the maple and besides, I love bacon, especially maple flavored, so its a natural. I have one guy who wants chocolate and bacon bars and that's a little out there for me but hey, we'll make whatever you want!
Because thats one thing I try to impress upon the people I work with in the Bakery - its all about the Customer Service! Our Customers are important to us and I try to do what they want, not what I want for them. We will custom make anything for you that is in our power to do so. In fact, we make Texas donuts for special orders. The picture on the left is of 3 Texas Maple Bars that someone ordered for a birthday. (I wrote Happy Birthday in chocolate icing on top.) Each Maple Bar is the equivalent of 10 regular maple bars. The box they are in is a full sheet cake box and if you don't know how big that is, it's 25 x 18 inches! I've also done Texas Twists, glazed and drizzled with chocolate and maple. Yumm!
But the donut that is the most fun is the Donut Dude. We have "dressed up" Donut Dudes (some of you call them gingerbread boys) in police uniforms (hat, night stick and holster) or as soccer players (t-shirts and shorts) or as Halloween vampires with fangs and cape! Sometimes they are dressed up with bow ties and hair and sometimes they just wear a goofy expression. And they aren't just for the kids! I know a lot of adults who like to eat them too. Their expressions are always good for a laugh or a smile. One day one of the donut makers had them lifting weights and barbells. How funny is that!
Donuts can be ordered ahead whether you want one donut or several dozens. We will gladly put aside your favorite so it is there when you come in because I know how you hate it when your favorite is gone. I have one customer who gets 3 glazed pershings (those are the ones that look like cinnamon rolls) 3 times a week. He got tired of coming in in the afternoon and they were always gone. So now he can stroll in late in the afternoon, 3 days a week, and know his donuts are waiting for him. We have a company that comes in twice a week, Monday and Friday, and picks up 2 dozen assorted. We have them ready to go at 6:30 am. They just pick then up and go. You can set up a schedule or just call ahead of time (please try to give us a 24 hour notice) and we'll make you giant Texas Donuts, bag up a couple of your favorites or box dozens for a party or office. Because we are here to make your donut dreams come true! Special flavor? No problem!
And speaking of special flavors, for those of you who missed National Donut Day, it is the first Friday in June each year. This year we went all out and had lots of different flavors. There were 2 of us working fast and furiously to fill the case by 6 am. The case was so full, we had 8 pans of back up donuts and we put them all out by 9 am. People were buying them by the dozens. If you were one of them, thank you so much for your support. It was a great success. Maybe we need to declare more "Donut Days" like that one? I'll let you know.
And I hope you will let me know how you like our donuts and what you would like to see. I know we need to do the Mocha Mousse Bars again soon. I'm still trying to get my guys who actually do the donuts at night to make more variety but it is time consuming to do all the different kinds we currently do. Our donut makers start work at 10 pm each night and finish about 5:30 am so you can get fresh donuts every day. Its tough to work through the night while everyone else sleeps and go home to bed as everyone else gets up. But they do it and for the most part, they do a terrific job of it.
Yes, I know, the donuts don't always look exactly the same. That's because 2 different people do them and sometimes people just have an off day (or night, as the case may be). But they are still better than pre-frieds on their worst day. And the human factor is what makes the donuts unique. If you want consistency, go to a big chain supermarket and buy theirs. I think they come from a factory back east and were fried, oh I don't know, maybe last month? Sorry, but frozen fried donuts just aren't the same as fresh. And you can't get the variety with premades that we can do. More variety, more choices, so there's something for everyone. When was the last time you saw a blueberry fritter in one of those other stores? We had some in our donut case last Saturday and I was told they were delicious. (No, I didn't try one. Can't try them all. Diabetic. Darn it.) And they can't do Donut Dudes or Fruit Burritos or half of the other flavors we make because they don't make them. They don't even have a fryer in their bakeries. Pity. Donuts aren't cost effective because of the labor and skill involved. That's why the other bakeries have done away with doing fresh donuts. While we don't make much on them, we do it for our Customers. Because you deserve better. Because we are still about the Customer Service. Just ask!