What is round, fried, makes your mouth water and has its own national holiday?
Donuts! The glazed, cream-filled, varied beauties are celebrated each year. While the taste alone is enough to celebrate, National Donut Day actually has a meaningful history rooted in the American spirit.
Today, most people celebrate without understanding the history. The holiday has been commercialized by donut shops nationwide with some serving up everything from free donuts to donut contests.
Keep reading to learn more one National Donut Day and when and how to partake in the festivities.
What is National Donut Day?
You might not believe it, but National Donut Day is a holiday celebrated across the United States. Its history, which we trace below, is much more than about the tasty treat.
But today the holiday is celebrated in many creative ways paying homage to the donut. Some donut shops have a special flavor, others, like Krispy Kreme, gives everyone a free donut just for showing up.
When is National Donut Day?
National Donut Day falls on the first Friday of June every year. This year, Friday, June 3 is National Donut Day.
There is also a second, but less popularly celebrated National Donut Day. November 10 is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Americans convinced the Vietnamese to help them celebrate by giving out donuts in honor of the occasion.
Since then National Donut Day is also celebrated by some on November 5th of every year. The celebration is speculated to have originated from that event in Vietnam.
There was no shortage of donuts during November in Vietnam. The 200 female American Red Cross volunteers, or “Donut Dollies” turned out about 20,000 donuts daily for GIs.
The history of National Donut Day
With so many food holidays out there, it’s pretty easy to trivialize their significance. But National Donut Day has a filling as rich as the custard of a Boston cream donut.
National Donut Day dates back to World War I. The female volunteers of the Salvation Army cooked donuts for American GIs overseas. The tradition carried on through the Great Depression.
During the Great Depression, the Chicago Salvation Army claimed National Donut Day as an official holiday in order to celebrate the female volunteers who championed the GIs during the war. It became official in 1938.
These female volunteers became known as “Donut Dollies.” They would each make upwards of 300 donuts a day — by hand.
The female volunteers who made donuts were called “dough girls” or “dough lassies.” They continued to serve donuts to GIs during World War II. Throughout various wars, like the Vietnam War, soldiers continued the tradition of eating donut— like food wherever they were serving.
Prisoner of war Orson Swindle had his soldiers observe the holiday during the Vietnam War by serving them sweet sticky buns. Eventually, bakeries and civilians alike started celebrating every year by eating a rich sweet donut.
The importance of National Donut Day
Beyond its historic importance, National Donut Day celebrates one of America’s most beloved treats. Although donuts are actually believed to be from the Netherlands and immigrated to New York with the Dutch. Nevertheless, 56% of Americans said they’ve taken donuts for their office.
Because it only comes once (and sometimes twice) a year, it is important for donut shops to seize the opportunity. Many shops celebrate and monetize National Donut Day by preparing marketing campaigns well in advance.
Below we’ll discuss some creative ways your donut shop or donut selling establishment can partake in the festivities.
How your business should advertise #NationalDonutDay
There is no standard for celebrating national donut day. But you should celebrate it and advertise in advance that you’ll be doing so!
With the rise of social media and food bloggers, food holidays have more recognition than ever before. Foodies and powerful food critics alike are flocking to taste and snap a moment of their favorite donuts.
Make sure to incorporate popular hashtags like #NationalDonutDay, #DonutDay, and #FreeDonuts! This will get your brand circulating on popular National Donut Day hashtags. Doing so boosts engagement about any specials you’re doing in celebration of the holiday.
Below are some marketing ideas to promote National Donut Day.
If there’s one way to get people to your store is free donuts. And just because you’re offering free food to many people, doesn’t mean your shop will take a financial hit.
By offering free donuts you are getting new people into your store. If they like what they taste they’ll be back. They might also want to try other offerings and end up spending money.
Free food also usually comes in high demand. High demand means lines and lines mean attention. Offering free donuts can make your shop look busy and boost desirability.
Here are some examples of stores participating in and advertising for free donuts.
Some shops celebrate donut day by offering new types of donuts. You can create a limited-edition donut that is only available for the weekend. This can boost the return of past customers who are curious to try the new flavor.
It can also get new customers who are intrigued by your flavor offering. Union Square Donuts in Boston, MA has been using this strategy for years.
Social media contests
While you should be using social media to promote all of your donut day festivities, you can also run a special contest on your social media. You can do a mystery flavor and have people guess the flavor and tag you with a picture of your donut and their guess. The winner can get a free dozen or gift card.
You can create your own contest and build a donut marketing hashtag strategy around it. It can be overwhelming to have a robust strategy while tending to other areas of the business.
Try a free trial of Sprout Social to boost your National Donut Day turnout.
Ways to celebrate National Donut Day
A consumer can have the most fun role in the holiday. Eating all the donuts is one way to celebrate! Donut shops will soon start promoting their donut day festivities.
You can also search “national donut day (your city)” to find out what’s happening in your area!
Another popular idea is donut hopping. Grab some friends and hop around to all your local donut shops. Try different flavors and compare. You might discover your new favorite donut!
Do-nut miss your opportunity to celebrate the sweet holiday
National Donut Day only comes once every year. Make sure your business has a strategy in place to win over nearby sweet teeth.