Sweet success

The company, which started in 2017 with one shop in Mayfair, is expanding rapidly and plans to open up locations up and down the East Coast.

Plenty of dough: Factory Donuts, which started in 2017 with one shop in Mayfair, is expanding rapidly and plans to open up locations up and down the East Coast. David Restituto co-founded the business with his wife, Heather. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

On Friday, Factory Donuts opened its third store, in Newtown, less than a month after unveiling its location in Media.

Before the end of the year, Factory Donuts plans to open additional franchise stores in Turnersville, Doylestown and West Palm Beach, Florida.

The expansion is far from complete. 

If David Restituto, who co-founded Factory Donuts with his wife, Heather, has his way, the burgeoning doughnut franchise that started in 2017 with one shop in Mayfair will soon be a household name with dozens of stores on the East Coast.

“I think the goal is to really drive around one day — whether it’s in five years — and see Factory Donuts throughout the country (and) to build something that we can be proud of,” Restituto said in an interview with the Northeast Times.

Seventeen stores are in the development phase, Restituto said, with the idea that each will open its doors over the next few years. The Restitutos are not worried that they’re expanding too rapidly.

“We’ve been prepared for this growth already. If anything, we are well ahead of the curve on the corporate side versus behind the curve,” Restituto said. “We have the infrastructure in place as if it’s been a franchise that has 50 locations.”

Factory Donuts prioritizes freshness in its doughnuts and coffee, Restituto said. Customers can design their own doughnut with different glazes and toppings or pick off an extensive menu that includes flavors such as maple bacon and mint chocolate chip. Patrons watch as their doughnuts are made. 

Restituo believes the model will take off, especially with millennials who like things that are designed for them.

“When you have a product that is worldwide accepted, there’s no reason why — if you have a really good fresh product and you have good service and a clean restaurant — that it won’t be successful in every area of the country,” he said. 

JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Franchising is nothing new for Restituto. He moved from New York to Philadelphia at the age of 5 when his parents decided to open a location for an automotive repair chain. 

Restituto is a franchisee himself, operating multiple Rita’s Italian Ice shops. Previously, he was also involved with Checkers restaurants, and he still is involved in the auto service industry as a third-generation franchise owner.

“Having been in the franchisee end of it for so long and seeing how beneficial it has been for me and my family, we felt that we had the experience and the knowledge” to start a brand from scratch, Restituto said.

In a franchise system, the franchisee pays fees to the larger company for the right to use the brand’s name and sell its products. It also allows store owners to access the systems of the franchisor. 

The structure can pay off for both parties if done right, Restituto said. 

Restituto said at least five to seven franchise candidates contact him on his cellphone daily. It’s his job, along with his staff, to vet the potential store owners and make sure they are the right fit for the company.

“I don’t see Factory Donuts out there,” Restituto said, gesturing toward the store’s sign. “I see me and my wife’s names out there.” 

Factory Donuts employs seven people at its corporate office, which is next to the original location at 7114 Frankford Ave. The company has an operations manager and business consultants who Restituto said will be tasked with making sure the franchises are following the chain’s guidelines. 

Mayfair has been the birthplace of a number of successful chains, including Philly Pretzel Factory — which has more than 100 locations — and Chickie’s and Pete’s.

Fishtown or South Philadelphia may seem like a hipper starting point for a specialty doughnut shop, but Restituto said the neighborhood has been supportive. 

“I enjoy doing business in Mayfair because people in Mayfair are very loyal if you treat them right,” he said.

Factory Donuts has been an active member of the community, donating untold number of doughnuts for various neighborhood events, Restituto said. He wants to make sure the franchise locations do the same.

“I think it’s important that you’re part of the community,” he said. “We don’t want to be seen as a big company that just opens up its doors but doesn’t give back.” 

Marc Collazzo, executive director of the Mayfair Business Improvement District, said the company’s expansion is a success story for the neighborhood.

“He is proof positive that something that was created here can work anywhere,” Collazzo said. “It shows, if you have a great idea and a great product, people will embrace it and flock to get it.” ••