What’s The Most Insanely Profitable 4-Hours-a-Day Food Business In Chicago?


Why did Brendan Sodikoff carve out a little bit of a successful bar and turn it into the doughnut shop Doughnut Vault? Because frying your own doughnuts is better than printing your own money, apparently. At least that’s the answer you get from Chicago writer Carly Fisher’s piece on the doughnut resurgence in Food Fanatics, a sponsored magazine from megadistributor US Foods. She looks at the economics of three hot doughnut shops— the others are venerable Primo’s Westdale Donuts in L.A. and Portland’s celebrated Voodoo Doughnuts— but it’s Doughnut Vault that will be of most interest to Chicagoans. Doughnuts could share Gilt Bar’s infrastructure at a time of day the bar wasn’t open, while social media quickly built Doughnut Vault’s cult:

Three months before unveiling the shop, owner Brendan Sodikoff created the Tumblr blog of an elusive pastry chef known only as “François,” who documented doughnut-making from proofing to glazing. Every few days, he teased locals with mouth-watering photos of fluffy chocolate cake and golden glazed doughnuts, along with historical tidbits and peeks into the shop’s construction. By the opening, Sodikoff had secured his initial customers with virtually no marketing costs.

The result: a business that sells out almost every day and takes in half a million dollars a year from not much more room than a coat closet. [Food Fanatics]