Beating the Giant: It’s as Simple as Artisanship

I suspect you’ve heard the phrase, “dollars to donuts.” From my research, its earliest reference occurred in 1876 and typically implies a wager where you are so certain of a bet that you are willing to gamble losing dollars (something of higher value) for the prospect of winning donuts (something of lower value). In truth, this blog isn’t about “dollars to donuts” it’s actually more about “dollars AND donuts.”

Ok, in full disclosure it’s really about “dollars AND craftsmanship.”

In the United States the GIANT in the world of DONUTS is…drum roll,please…

You guessed it Dunkin Donuts. However, there is a community of very successful artisan donut shops thriving and skyrocketing in the shadow of the omnipresent Dunkin Donuts brand. Annie Pilon offers a baker’s dozen donut shop examples in an article for Small Business Trends. For the sake of brevity, I will feature just one of those shops: The Salty Donut.

The owners of The Salty Donut, based in Miami, describe their business as

an Artisanal Donut Shop & Coffee Bar focused on chef-made, small-batch craft donuts using nothing but the highest quality ingredients and making EVERYTHING in-house! We also have an incredibly unique coffee program, featuring rotating coffees with interesting flavor profiles, crafted by some of the best baristas around. The Salty came to be because of a void in our beloved South Florida community. The entire country is experiencing a blossoming of craft donut shops and amazing coffee shops that offer unique coffee experiences, and South Florida is EONS behind in both of those categories.”

And what might you experience at The Salty Donut that they likely aren’t serving at Dunkin Donuts? Here are two donut options and their descriptions:


24 hour raised brioche donut with guava & cream cheese filling, cream cheese glaze, topped with Galleta Maria crumble


In collaboration with CrossFit athlete Noah Ohlsen! Baked sweet potato & homemade cookie butter cake donut with sweet potato glaze, coconut milk ganache, topped with a homemade shortbread cookie **VEGAN **UNDER 140 CALORIES

I can’t even imagine how you get all of that for under 140 calories.

Ok, so what’s the lesson for those of us who aren’t getting up at 4 in the morning to “make the donuts.”  It’s simply this:

  • Most items and experiences are mass produced
  • People want to matter
  • They want to have something unique and special
  • People always have and always will seek events and consumable items that fit their varied lifestyles and interests

While I am not a donut aficionado, I see the same trend happening with craft beer, artisan breads, handcrafted chocolate, etc.

Even in the land of brand giants like Dunkin Donuts and Budweiser, there is much success to be realized for those who take the time to know unmet customer needs and “CRAFT” solutions “CUSTOMIZED” to serve targeted customer segments!

Smoke over black background

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

Leave a Comment


The Starbucks Experience: Leadership Tips eBook
Elevating Care in Healthcare: Lessons from the UCLA Health System eBook
How to Win Every Customer, Every Time, No Excuses! Article