Varsity Donuts in Manhattan, Kansas is one of many bakeries across the country that is seeing success through opening during late-night hours. Whether they’re leaving bars, events, work, or even just craving a late night snack, potential customers are there for the making in any given U.S. city.
As the breakfast food trend has shifted from early morning hours to all hours of the day over time, so too has the desire for baked goods. Another popular bakery that is finding success through late-night hours is California Donuts in Los Angeles. According to the Facebook feature Popular Hours, the 24-hour shop sees its biggest walk-in traffic between the hours of 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. every Friday night.
You’ll find the same success at late-night shops all across the country, from California Donuts to Jennivee’s Bakery in Chicago to Dank Cakes in Gainesville, Florida.
According to Dank Cakes co-owner Gene Gamble, their late-night strategy is about more than food; it’s also about the experience. “I can guarantee that people are going to have more memories at Dank Cakes than they actually had at the bar,” Gamble says of his bakery that offers treats like fried Oreos and is located near college campuses in the area.
This isn’t necessarily a new idea – places such as Insomnia Cookies have tapped into the late-night potential of its stores for years. Open to 3 a.m. or later, the chain also delivers which is a bonus for night owls seeking a tasty treat.
The business was founded in 2003 by a University of Pennsylvania student who saw a demand for late-night snacks on his campus. The business has not grown to over 100 locations across the country, primarily in college towns.
Many shops aren’t just settling for being the stop after the party, they’re also becoming the party. Doughnut Lounge, a recent addition to the Kansas City, Missouri area, has quickly become a standout in a crowded field for not only its dreamy donut flavors, but also for its beer, wine, and cocktail selection that is available until 1:30 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.
While your bakery may not have the capability to run a food truck or serve an alcoholic beverage at its location, the late-night hours are a way to expand your business beyond traditional revenue sources.