Sandra O’Casey talks to us about sweet treats, new flavours and the small but mighty team making it all happen at Offbeat Donuts.
Tell us a little about the origins of the Offbeat Donuts and the secret behind ‘The ultimate donut experience’.
Ha, ha, ha, a lot of hard work! Brian and I founded the company in 2016 and opened our first Offbeat Donuts store in Pearse Station after months of product and brand development. It never fails to surprise me that people think it’s an American franchise, but it is 100% Irish owned and we work with some really talented Irish companies who produce our design, shopfitting, advertising material and supply our ingredients.
We also have a great ‘small but mighty’ team. From Sales/Marketing through to Operations, Team Leads and Bakers in our shops, we strive to make the customer experience our number one focus at all levels.
Brian and I are very close to the business and are always in the shops or sometimes answering the phone calls. I like chatting to the customers and it always makes me smile to see the delight on their faces as they try to choose their donuts – it is difficult as we have 22 different flavours!
It’s very challenging times for businesses everywhere now. How is Offbeat Donuts meeting those challenges?
I would be lying if I said that the pandemic hasn’t hit us (like everyone else) very hard. We did feel a responsibility to reopen the business and get as many of our people back to work as soon as possible.
Covid 19 made us stop and reassess the business and we realized that we needed to bring our ‘little treats’ to people’s homes. We reopened two of our stores for ‘click and collect’ and deliveries in mid-May. People were still celebrating, even if it was only their immediate families. There were young people who missed communions and confirmations but were marking the day by having some donuts. People sent donuts to loved ones to say ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Miss You’; ‘Congratulations’; ‘Thinking of You’.
During the daytime, we delivered donuts contactlessly and at night we wrote notes and organized delivery routes. I was also answering Offbeat Donuts mainline number, so I got a chance to talk to our customers and had some really memorable conversations. It was and still is a difficult time for lots of people.
Obviously, when we reopened more of our stores, it made sense to partner with Just Eat, so we now offer same day delivery and special occasion deliveries.
Coffee and donuts go hand in hand. Tell us more about your Conscious Coffee initiative.
Our coffee comes from a small roastery called Bell Lane in Mullingar and is specially blended for Offbeat Donuts. It is ethically sourced from a farm called Fazenda Santa Luzia in Brazil. The roasters visit the farm each year where they select the coffee and agree a price with the farmer. This coffee is traded directly following our principles of transparency and honesty to mutually benefit the farmer and roaster.
Depending on the number of people, a mixed premiums box is great. What we find is that people cut up the donuts and everyone gets a little taste of many flavours.
What’s your own favourite item on the menu?
My absolute favourite is a warm cinnamon sugar donut, with a coffee in the morning – all the staff know that! 😊
What new treats and offers do you have in the mix this Autumn?
We are always developing new products. We will have three new flavours in September and we are also busy creating a Halloween and Christmas range, which will be available on Just Eat. So be sure to check them out!
I’m always taking photographs of desserts or writing notes about which flavours work well together and of course we are always asking our customers. We even created a limited edition Freshly Baked Orange Donut exclusively for Just Eat recently so anyone who placed an order through Just Eat received one free Sicilian Orange Iced Donut with a White Drizzle!
Finally, I’d just like to thank our customers. We had lovely messages of support from a lot of people and I hope we brought a smile to people’s faces when we delivered donuts and messages from their friends and family. Keep well, wear the mask and hopefully this time next year we will have a vaccine. Also ‘thank you’ to our business partners, family and friends, who encouraged us to keep going and helped get our business operational again. Keep supporting local Irish businesses, it’s so important at the moment.