This week, Dunkin' (which officially dropped the "Donuts" from its name last year) started selling DIY decorating kits and, according to store managers, people can't wait to get their hands on the customizable sweet treats.
In early April, Norma Valkenaar, an employee at a Dunkin' location in Concord, California, asked her boss if she could take some plain doughnuts, frosting and sprinkles home to entertain her nephews. Matt Cobo, the franchise owner, immediately thought Valkenaar was onto something big — and so did Dunkin' executives.
“The reality of this experience has set in, and we know it’s not going anywhere anytime soon,” Cobo said in a press release. “Like most parents, we were looking for ways to entertain our kids and bring a little levity to this situation.”
Shortly after his employee came up with the concept, Cobo began selling boxes of unfrosted doughnuts, along with a variety of sprinkles and frostings, at two store locations. In the last few weeks, more and more locations nationwide have been following Cobo's lead.
Guests visiting participating Dunkin' locations can choose between a four-doughnut option for $5.99, or the nine-doughnut pack for $9.99. Each kit comes with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry frosting. Customers get three varieties of sprinkles with the large pack and two with the small.
Since the kits are only available at select locations, a spokesperson from Dunkin' suggested calling your preferred location ahead of time to see if that store is offering it.
Adam Goldman, a Dunkin' franchise owner in West Orange, New Jersey, said he has sold more than 1,200 DIY boxes in three weeks.
“The first day we did it, we had cars lined up at our drive-thru for 45 minutes,” Goldman, 52, told TODAY Food. “Parents are looking for something different to do with their children.”
Boxes sold at Goldman’s store include decorating tips, instructions and an important reminder about washing your hands before getting busy in the kitchen.
One key step to a smoothly frosted surface? Microwave the frosting for about 15 seconds to make it easier to spread with a knife.
Goldman said he understands how hard it's been for both kids and parents to be cooped up inside for a long period of time.
“I’m happy to be able to give them a unique activity,” he explained. “They’re also learning a cool new skill.”
Though the packs are not currently available for delivery (Dunkin' is now available on Uber Eats), Goldman said that customers may be able to call stores ahead of time to reserve a kit.
Cobo, a father of three, isn't surprised the idea has taken off.
"Parents are really enjoying the 30 minute break," Cobo told TODAY. "They get to sit back and enjoy the laughter — and a mimosa!"
If doughnuts aren't your jam, Baskin-Robbins, which is part of Dunkin’ Brands Inc., is also getting in on the DIY fun. The ice cream chain is rolling out customizable Do-It-Yourself Sundae Kits for $24.99.
Each kit comes with two quarts of your favorite ice cream flavors, a can of whipped cream, cherries and three toppings of your choice. And because the company knows you can't stomach the thought of washing one more dish — you’ll also get five sundae cups and spoons!