Business is just ducky for Chandler donut bakery - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Business is just ducky for Chandler donut bakery

February 18th, 2022 development
Business is just ducky for Chandler donut bakery

By Ken Sain, Arizonan Staff Writer

It might be an oversimplification to say the reason that there is a Duck Donuts franchise in Arizona because of a wife’s craving during pregnancy. But it’s not far from the truth.

Daniel Bruno said he and his wife fell in love with the North Carolina-based donuts franchise while vacationing in the Outer Banks. During his wife’s first pregnancy, she got a craving for something sweet and sent her husband out to find something.

“So, I went out, in the town of Duck, and I was asking people, ‘Hey, my wife’s pregnant, could you suggest something.’ ‘Get her Duck Donuts.’ ‘What’s that?’ ‘You smell that in the air, follow your nose.’”

He did – and brought his wife a Duck Dozen.

Fast forward a few years and the Brunos are living in Arizona and expecting their second child.

“She’s having cravings one night, ‘I want Duck Donuts.’ Man, we’re living in Arizona, it’s not happening, so she’s like, ‘figure it out!’”

And that is how the first Duck Donuts location in Arizona came to Chandler, one of more than 100 franchises across the nation.

Duck Donuts is different from traditional bakeries.

Instead making their donuts with yeast-based dough that takes a while to rise, they use white cake dough. Also, they don’t have a case filled with donuts that were made an hour or two before.

They are made to order, which requires customers to wait unless they call in their orders or use their loyalty app to order in advance.

It has gained a lot of fans. The Chandler franchise just celebrated its 2-year anniversary with a party and about 200 people showed up.

Bruno opened at Arizona Avenue and Ocotillo in late January of 2020, also known as the time before COVID-19 shut down the world. He had a new franchise most people had not heard of before and large chunks of the population afraid to eat out because of the pandemic.

It wasn’t the best time to start a new business but the Arizona State University grad found a way to thrive.

“We had to come up with some ideas, and I did,” Bruno said. “I visited all the neighborhoods within like five to 15 miles from here, … making friends with all the HOAs.”

Bruno partnered with a coffee business and would bring their products to each HOA meeting to sell. That helped him grow his brand and business.

“Doing that, and individually packing donuts, that’s what saved us,” Bruno said. “Literally.”

Bruno said patrons will notice a totally different experience at his store than traditional donut shops.

“From the moment you walk in, we have our kitchen up front, our fryers are up front, all our batter-making is up front,” Bruno said.” We only have one style donuts, that’s it, the vanilla cake donut. Then we just change out all the different coatings, the toppings, the drizzles. And you can pick from all the different various assortments we make.”

He also offers seasonal menus. For example, he will be selling Valentines Day donuts. And since each donut is made to order, a customer can build their own.

“Knowing it’s being made right in front of you, is the coolest thing ever,” Bruno said. “That’s totally what attracted me into the brand itself.”

He’s such a believer that as more Arizonans learn about Duck Donuts and become fans, he is preparing to open a second location by the end of this year, this one in Queen Creek.

Bruno’s children are now 5 and 3. He said being a donut dad makes him one of the coolest fathers ever.

“I’m behind the pizza guy and the police officer at school, but I’m in the top five.”

Information: 4040 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler;; 480-350-7763