Innovation Station: Joining Forces

Since debuting in Miami in 2015, The Salty Donut has found that partnerships with other local businesses strengthen its community presence and inspire innovation. Its maple bacon glazed donut, for example, uses products from two nearby partners: bacon from smokehouse Miami Smokers and a porter from J. Wakefield Brewing.

“We wanted [these brands] because they’re great people, their product is spectacular, and [we wanted] to support other local businesses,” says co-founder Andy Rodriguez.

Beyond these benefits, developing co-branded products can expose bakeries to new customer bases.

Here, Rodriguez shares tips for mastering product collaborations.






Keep It Simple

During product development, The Salty Donut experiments with sweetness, acidity, textures and flavor complexity—but to the customer, Rodriguez says, the finished creation should taste deliciously simple. “It’s our job to execute at the highest of levels, but the customer should only have to worry about recognizing that they’ve just eaten something rustic, simple and special,” he says.






Opposites Attract

The Salty Donut, known for unique flavors like guava-cream and white chocolate-tres leches, and Knaus Berry Farm, with its more traditional offerings, may seem like an unlikely pair. However, the latter’s status as a 60-year-old community staple and The Salty Donut’s younger demographic and social media savvy complemented one another when they teamed up for a sticky-bun donut. 
“When you put together quirky things that are on a similar level but for different people, people get excited,” Rodriguez says, noting the power of both brands’ commitment to promoting the product to their customer bases. 







True Colors

Staying true to both brands is key, Rodriguez says. During a collaboration with winery Santa Margherita USA, he remembers saying, “We can’t make a donut with a rosé glaze just to say we’re doing it. It needs to taste like our products.” 

Finding the flavor combination that’s equally Salty Donut pastry and Santa Margherita rosé helped Rodriguez guarantee both partners were represented in the creation—and that consumers recognized the brands they know and love.