Entrepreneur / Small BusinessJobs & Money

How To Operate A Donut Business: Mini Donut Concession Ideas

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By Curtis

Mini Donuts are the first concession stand you look for when you head down the midway at the county fair. Everyone loves those hot little sugar coated donuts.


The whole Mini Donut process itself consists only of a dry mix that requires adding water to form the batter. Then, just fill the hopper on the machine and it will automatically drop little ringlets of dough into the hot oil.

Your tasty Mini Donuts will travel the length of the oil bath where they flip out onto a pan of cinnamon sugar. Then, your Mini Donuts are ready to be bagged and sold.

There are 3 things that make this a great business idea:

  1. Ease of operation
  2. Long inventory shelf life
  3. High profit margin

Top that off with the fact that your supplies don’t require refrigeration and — this type of donut business looks even better! At the end of the day, putting your supplies away simply means siphoning the oil out of the fryer, and putting the bag of dry mix in the cupboard.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Here’s how to get started running your own Mini Donuts business:

#1 – Contact Lil’ Orbits

The #1 Mini Donut concession business is Lil’ Orbits. They’ve been building Mini Donut equipment since 1974 and know all about setting up a new enterprise.

Lil’ Orbits survives on the concept of Action Attraction.

What is Action Attraction? It’s actually part of an automatic 2-step process — a proven, very effective method every Lil’ Orbits operator uses:

  1. Produce the aroma. When cooking Lil’ Orbits mini-donuts passers-by can’t miss it, they’ll follow the aroma to the source.
  2. Display the process. Kids especially love to watch the progress of mini-donuts through the fully visible cooking process.

When the mini-donuts drop into the serving tray, they’re placed into bags and sold to customers — hot and ready to eat.

Customers are involved in the entire process of discovery, cooking and eating. It’s a big part of the fun of owning a Lil’ Orbtis mini-donut operation. Because, as Lil’ Orbits says:

“The aroma attracts ’em. The action fascinates ’em. And the great taste brings ’em back!” Source

#2 – Set Up Your Mini Donuts Concession Stand

A mobile Mini Donut business offers great flexibility since you can move your concession stand to wherever the crowd may be.


Throughout the country festivals, special events, and neighborhood street fairs take place every week. Sites like Festival Network Online provide date, location, and all information needed to secure a vending spot for your Mini Donut concession stand.

This makes it easy to establish a schedule that meets your availability and income requirements. Your Mini Donut operation can be as big or small as you like.

Where I live in Duluth Minnesota, we have large events like the Bayfront Blues Festival and the Land of the Loon Festival in Virginia, Minnesota — a few miles to the north. Both are very large and popular events with many different food vendors setting up shop.

A local Mini Donut vendor owns 2 small concession trailers which he uses to work these and other events in the area. Most special events take place on weekends. During the week, he has his 2 concessions trailers set up at local convenience store parking lots on opposite ends of town. This enables him to take advantage of day-to-day local foot traffic.

#3 – Invest In Your Mini Donuts Business

The opportunities are endless with Mini Donuts — simply because they sell themselves!

With $.25 as your investment for a dozen bags for these tasty little donuts, and a selling price that is currently between $3.50 and $4.00, you can make a pretty nice living in the right location.

If you were to buy new automatic donut machines, the investment might be a bit large. Fortunately, there is plenty of used Mini Donuts equipment for sale. You can even start really small on your own by using a simple mini donut maker or a larger countertop style commercial donut fryer.

Realistically, you can get into the Mini Donuts business with very little cash upfront:

  • If you’re going to set up your business in a permanent location, you should go with a state-of-the-art layout designed specifically to meet the requirements of your local Health Department.
  • If you plan on working a variety of outdoor events, many vendors convert old travel trailers to meet the requirements of the Health Department. It doesn’t need to be new and super fancy. Usually, a nicely painted trailer that is clean and properly outfitted with easy-to-clean surfaces will do.

Think a mini donut business would work for you? Start here.

Not Ready To Buy? You Can Rent!


Still feeling a bit apprehensive about the whole idea?

Maybe you should rent a Mini Donut machine for a day and give the whole plan a test run before you commit to the idea.

You can make donuts for the neighborhood kids, as a test to see if this is what you would want to do on a larger scale at local events.

More Tips For Starting A Mini Donut Business

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some additional resources to help you start your own Mini Donut concession stand: