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Saturday, Dec 3, 2022

Randy’s Donuts Looms Large in Costa Mesa

“Look—up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s … a giant donut!”

Commuters traveling the 405 Freeway in Inglewood cannot miss the giant rooftop donut atop the Randy’s Donuts building.

Orange County got its own giant donut last month when Randy’s Donuts opened its first OC location in Costa Mesa.

The structural design of the new location includes a 25-foot-tall donut sign constructed from fiberglass with interior supports made of steel, weighing about 15,000 pounds on top of the building.  

The interior features a coffee lounge equipped with Wi-Fi and USB charging stations, and a 24-hour drive-thru—although part of the fun of Randy’s is going inside to select from more than 60 varieties of donuts, from classics to creative premiums such as a large glazed donut topped with Fruity Pebbles cereal or a maple éclair with chunks of bacon on top.

Randy’s Donuts is also one of the few places to serve Kean Coffee, crafted by longtime local coffee king Martin Diedrich.

After five decades in one location, Randy’s has been expanding its footprint. The brand has five locations in the greater Los Angeles area (Inglewood, El Segundo, Torrance, Downey and Pasadena), with a new location set to open in Santa Monica. More locations will be announced throughout California, and Randy’s is opening seven locations in Nevada over the next 18 months. In the past three years, Randy’s Donuts has opened three international franchise locations in South Korea and is currently negotiating deals in several other states including Texas, New York, Illinois, Arizona, Utah, Missouri and Florida.

The expansion comes courtesy of Newport Beach native Mark Kelegian, who bought Randy’s Donuts in 2015 to run as a family business.

Kelegian had been operating casinos in California, but didn’t think that business would be suitable for his three daughters. One day while scrolling through a website that lists businesses for sale, he came across a listing for a 50-year-old restaurant. He called the phone number; a voice answered and said, “Randy’s Donuts.”

After learning the selling price and annual sales figures, Kelegian snapped the business up, knowing he was getting an iconic brand that could be expanded.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking for something to franchise, but once I realized it was Randy’s, I was ready to go,” Kelegian said. “Donuts are not only a comfort food, they’re very high value. The price point is so low that you get a lot of bang for your dollar. For $2 you can be pretty happy—you get a lot of comfort for $2.”

Classic Recipes
Kelegian said he’s using the same recipes that Randy’s has used for 50 years, which includes quality ingredients.
“We introduced a premium line of donuts, not to compete with artisanal guys but to have some measure of it when people come in with different tastes, although our classic donuts represent 85% to 90% of the sales,” Kelegian said. “People want that donut they grew up with.”

The Costa Mesa Randy’s on Harbor Boulevard has become an instant hit.

“In our first 10 days, we sold over 100,000 donuts. That’s phenomenal,” Kelegian stated.

“We’re adopting the In-N-Out model. If there are more than five cars in line, we have food order takers. You wait longer in a donut shop line than McDonald’s or In-N-Out because you don’t know what you’re going to order. At a donut shop there are so many varieties. Our customers have many options.”

Kelegian was quick to point out that “we are a donut shop. We don’t pretend to be anything else. We are not a coffee shop, we do not sell lottery tickets or sandwiches, or ice cream. We stick to what we know best. We have the world’s best donuts and the world’s best coffee.”

Kelegian has made Randy’s a family business. His daughters are all part owners, and you can often find them at the Costa Mesa store decorating donuts, making sales, or doing whatever necessary to make the store a success.

Sugar Fix

I popped into Randy’s soon after they opened and was dazzled by the donut selections. I purchased a dozen mixed, including several over-the-top designs and a few classic favorites. The donuts come in a large box, which Kelegian said is “one our best marketing moves. You see the large orange box, you know its Randy’s. Our dozen donut box is larger than any others—most are 15 x 11, ours are 18 x 13. They are large because our donuts are larger, especially when you throw in apple fritters, cinnamon rolls. You’re not crushing the donuts.”

After tasting Randy’s donuts, I admit they are deliciously decadent. I devoured the maple bacon donut, and the lemon old fashioned, and well, let’s just say I sampled them all and let my tastebuds have a party.

Randy’s Donuts: 2930 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 674-5977, randysdonuts.com

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