Founded in 2018, Dip in Donuts, with its wide variety and flavours, is here to scratch that doughnut itch.
--BY MANISHA BALAMI
Who doesn’t love a doughnut? Aware that there was a demand for various varieties of doughnuts, Manjil Man Shrestha, after a lot of research and dedication, founded Dip in Donuts in March 2018. Brainchild of Manjil and his sister-in-law Safina Manandhar, the company was started with a total investment of Rs 300,000.
Shrestha, who had worked with different airline companies, always wanted to start something of his own. After leaving his job, he initially thought of starting an upholstery cleaning business but it was not successful due to various reasons. He then discussed several business ideas with one of his colleagues every day. He says other business success stories gave him motivation during this time. “Such stories gave me inspiration on how to make a solid business idea and then the idea of doughnuts came to me,” he recalls.
Idea Vs Execution
Shrestha says that having an idea is not enough to run a business. Shrestha had prior experience in corporate sales in airlines. As he did not have any knowledge in the field of doughnuts, he learnt the process of making doughnuts from YouTube. It took him about a month and a half to finally make a sellable doughnut. “After many trial and errors for more than a month, I got the idea of how to make them. That was not enough though,” he says. “So I collaborated with my sister-in-law who had that skill,” he adds.
Besides, he says that the process for making doughnuts is time-consuming. “It took around three or four hours to prepare the dough and make doughnuts. So we had difficulty adjusting with the time because we have to reach the kitchen very early in the morning and we were not used to it,” he says. He adds that they are getting used to it now. Although there were some difficulties initially, they say it has been quite easy now as they are moving forward according to their plan. Other people have recommend them to start other bakery products as well, but they say that sticking exclusively to doughnuts and specialising in them is their unique selling proposition (USP). “Rather, we want to bring different flavours into doughnuts,” they explain.
Providing Different Flavours to People
Till date, Dip in Donuts has produced and sold doughnuts in more than 30 different flavours. At present, they are selling doughnuts with chocolate glazes, fruit flavours, various chocolate and fruit toppings and custard cream. Flavours like 'Homer,' 'Chocolate Marshmallow,' 'Choco Bomb,' 'Blueberry,' etc are available among many other flavours. 'Chocolate Bomb' is the most liked doughnut at present. It is a chocolate filled bun which is like a chocolate lava cake.
Other than their regular doughnuts, they also make alphabet doughnuts as per orders. Likewise, on order, they also make doughnut cakes or doughnut towers for different occasions. Moreover, they also make season-wise doughnuts.
Dip in Donuts is also available in different sizes. People can customise the size and shape of the doughnuts as per their wish.
While doughnuts are available in other bakeries for less than Rs 20, the doughnuts at Dip in Donuts cost from Rs 30 to Rs 150. It was a challenge for the duo to sell their doughnuts at those prices in the local market. Shrestha and Manandhar started the company to provide different flavours of doughnuts to people. “However, a lot of people still don’t know about the flavours and it’s difficult to make people taste new products. So, market expansion is still a challenge” they say.
Like most other startups, they too find it challenging to do the paperwork. Shrestha says that they had difficulty in the registration process due to a lack of knowledge in the field. “We did not have enough knowledge regarding the process. As the registration process would be lengthy and full of hassle, we decided to outsource that part,” shares Shrestha. Although there are written laws and policies, they find it difficult to get exact information. Like other young companies, they say that it is difficult to get detailed information and they also don’t know where they can get the information. Meanwhile, they feel that programmes such as startup meets are encouraging. Other than that they say that they are moving forward according to their plan which has minimised possible obstructions.
Clientele and Feedback
Dip in Donuts has outlets in Patan and Baluwatar. The client base in these areas is also different. Safina, who looks after the outlet at Baluwatar says that they get bulk orders. “We get orders from nearby offices and parents also buy our doughnuts for their children at schools. There are several walk-in customers as well,” she says. Likewise, Shrestha states that there are walk-in clients and orders from offices at the Patan outlet as well, but as the place is near Patan Durbar Square, it has become a hangout spot for youngsters. “They come, sing songs, chill and eat our doughnuts as well,” shares Shresthahappily.
In terms of target customers, they say their targets are teenagers and people of up to 35 years of age. So to cater to their target group, they are trying to sell their doughnuts at a cheaper price by opening more outlets in different places.
laims that the response at both places has been very positive. The customer feedback is a motivating factor for the team. “For a small company like ours, the positive response makes us satisfied and motivates us to make better products,” Shrestha says.
Shrestha claims that they serve around 60 walk-in clients daily at the Patan outlet. They have been marketing their products through social media and by participating in different exhibitions and events. Recently, their product was put up as a gift item in an event organised by Radio Nagarik. “This also helped us in promoting our product. Different food vloggers also visited and covered their place which has further helped in promotion”Shrestha says.
The company has been observing repetitive clients and rising number of new footfalls indicates its growing customer base. “Customer feedback and their suggestions to open shops near their location make us feel that there are greater opportunities for us,” Shrestha says. The company owners believe though they are still in the initial stage, significant market expansion is a real opportunity. Shrestha says that before starting any company, people have to do the research. “Following the herd without doing proper research might lead to frustration. Knowing your product and client is important. Along with that, patience is very important,” declares Shrestha.
The owners of Dip in Donuts aim to open a distribution channel and take away shops in as many different locations as possible. “We want to open a big outlet where we can do instant production and product sales at the same time,” they share, adding, “This would mean better service and more quality products. And we also want to provide new flavours to our customers. There are many ideas we want to work on, and after doing better research, we plan to work on those ideas”.