While Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants across the country gear up to celebrate National Donut Day on Friday, June 7 by offering a free donut with any beverage purchase, I recently ventured into our Donut Lab to learn more about what goes into “making the donuts” from our Manager of Donut Excellence, Rick Golden.
Rick is our modern day version of the famed Fred the Baker. A former crewmember, Rick leads part of our culinary team to create many of the donut varieties found in our restaurants around the world.
What is your role here at Dunkin’ Donuts?
While I’m best known as the Manger of Donut Excellence, my expertise also extends to our bakery offerings, so I serve as the Research & Development Manager of Bakery.
What is your history with Dunkin’ Donuts?
I started working at the original Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in Quincy at the age of 14. From the store level, I moved through the roles of Operations Manager and Donut Baker before joining Dunkin’ Donuts’ culinary team. My degree in restaurant management, combined with my familiarity with the brand, has helped me get to where I am today.
Why do you think people love donuts so much?
Donuts continue to be popular because they taste great and make people smile. A big perk of my job is that many of our classic donuts – like Glazed and Chocolate Cake – are still loved by our guests, but people also get really excited when we experiment with new shapes, designs and flavor combinations.
What drives innovation here in Dunkin’ Donuts’ R&D Lab?
While our team is always tasked with being creative, the bottom line is that the donut has to be delicious, yet simple enough to replicate at the store level. There are a lot of old timers who know the history of the brand and new timers who bring fresh ideas. Team dinners and innovation days help us all to think outside the box. There is also a tremendous amount of innovation that comes to us from our franchisees, employees and loyal guests.
What is one of your favorite projects that you work on?
Every month I work with the marketing team to create a donut decorating guide. We’re always looking to bring our donuts to the next level and this gives us the chance to do that by coming up with really creative and different ideas that can be replicated in all of our DD restaurants. We’ve created some great donuts for our restaurants like the Spring Fling and Spring Showers Donuts and most recently the Summer Fruit Donuts: Lemonade and Key Lime.
You create donut varieties around the world. How do donut flavors change outside of the United States?
Our donuts in the United States have different flavor profiles than our international donuts. We incorporate local ingredients and flavors in our donuts for that specific country or region. It’s important to customize our donuts so we meet the local taste preferences for our guests. For example, dates and pistachios are two staple ingredients in the Middle East so we offer a Date Donut to create this flavor profile.
How will you celebrate National Donut Day this year?
I will be in Phoenix training donut finishers on the new donut decorating styles. It will be a great day of decorating and indulging in some of my favorite types of donuts, including a Chocolate Coconut Donut!