I remember back in the day when Bubble Tea shops would spring up every 200 meters along Orchard road. A friend once mentioned how a simple investment of $20k would fetch you everything you needed to open one, and how the revenue would be more than enough to cover that within the first month or so. These Bubble Tea drink shops were instantly started up, but also quick to die off. This perhaps describes the fickle state of consumerism in Singapore, where there seems to be an abnormally accelerated life cycle to businesses.
Flipping the page, we turn to this present craze of donuts in Singapore. Ever since I returned to Singapore early this year, I’ve been noticing extremely long lines for the donut shops. Not all were equal though as IZreloaded highlighted, the Donut Factory @ Raffles City was of particular mention. With lines forming even before the store opened past noon, the lines have been seen to stretch across rows of shops, where you’ll spot people like me snapping pictures and wondering if I should join in.
The latest incarnation of this craze has now extended beyond our borders, where hungry netizens would go online to place orders for the now extinct Dunkin’ Donuts. While many bloggers were curious how it worked, Nadnut actually tried it out and gave her “yummy but bad service” report here. It’s currently rumored to be operating from a shop in Johor Baru, where weekly drop deliveries are made in central locations around Singapore. If this sounds like how crack gets delivered in the darker parts of U.S. neighborhoods, it is.
Photo by pochacco20
Will this donut craze die off? I don’t think it will… not so soon. What we’ve experienced is only a tip of the iceberg, like what weed is to cocaine. The prima donna of donuts, Krispy Kreme, has yet to make its stand in Singapore. While waiting at Changi Airport an entire day (don’t ask why, just watch), I’ve already noticed streams of Singaporeans returning from the States, Hong Kong or even nearby Jakarta, loaded with boxes of two dozen Krispy Kreme each. It seemed like the de-facto thing to do, though the sad part is that by the time it reaches our shores, the magic is lost.
You see, when the “fresh off the oven” neon sign fires up at the Krispy Kreme outlet where I stayed (in Buffalo), it’s almost a magical experience buying a donut hot and sugary, taking a bite, and letting it simmer then melt in your mouth. Packrat has a video showing Krispy Kreme’s process, which is quite fun to watch. I wouldn’t advised daily visits, but this has been somewhat replicated on a smaller scale by the folks at the Donut Factory, where donuts are made fresh and thus the queues are long.
Our franchisees must possess the capital sufficient to fund the development of the market. We currently grant franchises on an area development basis. Specifically, our area developers are required to build multiple stores (10 or more) in a market. The minimum net worth requirement is $30 million or $1,000,000 per store to be developed, whichever is greater. For instance, a 15-store market requires a minimum net worth of $30,000,000.
So if you could pool your rich friends together and each open one of fifteen stores in Singapore, each of you would only need to fork our US$2 million. Time to crack open my piggy bank… any takers? 😀
In summary, I believe that the Bubble Tea trend in Singapore died because it was a highly accessible market, which created an oversupply of bubble tea shops in Singapore, which later developed into a general distaste of having more black balls in one’s mouth. This donut resurgence came about because supply had been cut (we lost our Dunkin’ Donuts!), and the rebirth included a fresher approach to consuming donuts (duplicating Krispy Kreme’s technique). What’s interesting though is whether consumers know how to limit themselves to any particular product, or whether supply will always have to be limited in order to sustain demand, i.e. maintaining low number of fresh donut shops.