The Doughnut Effect – Create Amazing ROI

Hot doughnuts.

They’re pretty hard to resist – which is why so many stores have that big ol’ neon sign in the window, announcing when there are hot, fresh servings of doughy, sugary bliss on hand. Cars have been known to swerve over multiple lanes of traffic to purchase when the sign lights up.

OK, sometimes it might be my car.

Basically, when you have a hot doughnut on offer, you have something darned attractive, which customers really want.

I was recently in Los Angeles, visiting my brother and his family. This year, my wise-beyond-her-years niece and I enjoyed a girls-only movie outing, so I wanted to do something special with my nephew. At seven, he’s pretty easy to please…just give him doughnuts.


Specifically, he prefers the offerings from Kettle Glazed, a Hollywood outpost with flavors like maple bacon, S’mores, and Blueberry-Lemon.

Off we went, with me being ready to sugar him up to his heart’s content (don’t tell his parents).

We arrived, made a first selection, and I told the owner to start a tab. As we finished up the initial doughnuts and began looking for round two, the owner came from the back with a tray of piping hot vanilla bean doughnuts, and promptly GAVE one to my nephew and me.

Why would the owner of Kettle Glazed Doughnuts give my nephew and I FREE hot doughnuts when we were already there to buy?

Some business owners would argue that’s a bad policy – don’t give away the merchandise.

I didn’t ask the guy, but I have a guess…

By giving us free doughnuts, a couple things happened.

First, we bought even more doughnuts after the freebie and brought them home for the rest of the family. We didn’t feel obligated, per se, but rather we wanted to show some reciprocal good will in return for his generosity.

Second, my positive feelings about the store shot through the roof. The doughnuts I bought were great, and his gift made me a RAVING FAN. I tweeted. I talked. Here I am now, writing to YOU about the experience. When I go back to LA, you can bet I’ll make an effort to go back to Kettle Glazed.

What do you think was his ROI on those two doughnuts?


Between the products and the service, it’s easy to understand how Kettle Glazed Doughnuts has a cult-like following.

Now consider your business.

You may not be able to easily and inexpensively give your core products to customers, and that’s OK. In every business there’s an opportunity to develop massive brand loyalty.

Want to create a cult-like following for YOUR business? Start with ONE offering that will surprise and delight your clients.

Want some help? Check HERE.

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