Few things on earth are better than a good donut. A bad donut, on the other hand, is a waste of calories.
Last week, while in Panama City, I discovered an unexpected gem at Laguna Beach. The name of the place was Thomas Donut & Snack Shop. After a couple of drive bys, I decided to give the place a try. Insert a Gomer Pyle “Shazaam.” The dive was great!
I should have known I was in for a treat when I couldn’t find a place to park on either side of the street. The lines to get up to the donut window were no different.
After purchasing a dozen assorted and talking to several people in line, I couldn’t help but wonder how such a small place had managed to create such demand.
I walked away with a few reminders.
- Small is an excuse. Thomas, tiny compared to national donut chains, had every reason to complain. A weak location, small facility, and limited budget could all be seen as roadblocks. However, the Thomas team was passionate about their product and positive about their ability to create a great experience for their customers.
- People are more important than products. At the end of the day Thomas is in the people business, just like you are. Sugar helps, but service sells.
- People don’t mind waiting. At first, I was shocked that someone would stand in a line of twenty-five people just to get a donut. Then I realized they were not waiting on a donut, rather an experience. People like to be where the buzz is. Is your product and your customer service worth waiting in line for fifteen minutes? For thirty?
- Do what you do best. Thomas is great at donuts. Though by the beach, they have resisted the temptation to serve seafood. For most of us, it is easy to become distracted by what everyone else is doing. Don’t. Stick to your guns and do what you do best.
If today finds you complaining about your limits, obsessed with your products, and distracted by the competition, I recommend you learn some lessons from a donut shop.
And for those of you who need to see the buzz yourself, there is nothing like a road trip.
My suggestion would be the cinnamon twist.
Leadership Begins at Home,,
When was the last time (and where) you found buzz in an unexpected place?
Any of you ever been to Thomas Donut & Snack Shop?
Theres a pretty good buzz in a small hole in te wall diner. Shamrock kitchen, good food better service. Seems like your kid of place -P Max
I have been there PMax. Good place!
Love Thomas’! We finally discovered it the last time we were in PCB! It was the buzz that got us there!
Thanks for commenting Chey!
I have been to Thomas’s and the Shamrock Kitchen. Both are great. You have to try Once A Week Go Greek on Virginia Ave. Awesome!
I will have to try it Todd. Thanks!
Your blog post using my family’s restaurant came to me by way Clint Hurdle. It was really nice to read your thoughts on our little donut shop on the beach. A little history for you and your readers; my grandparents built and opened Thomas’ in Laguna Beach, FL back when you could pretty much fire a cannon down Front Beach Road nine months out of the year and not hit a soul. Since then our little beach has grown and grown and so has our business, though not really. We have always resisted the temptation to grow just for growth’s sake in the fear it would destroy our identity. We do enjoy the beautiful buzz that has come from our customers’ reaction to our “dive” atmosphere and are very careful not to ignore why it exists in the first place. Sure our food is outstanding but it’s the little shack by the beach that adds just the right seasoning. Thank you again for your kind words.
Michael Thomas Jr.
p.s. Next time you’re here I’ll buy you a cinnamon twist!
Awesome, Michael! Thanks for the history, encouragement, and your humility. Next time I’m down, I’ll definitely take you up on the Twist. Have a blessed week!