New look, same doughnuts

Beloved bakery cooks up new design.


Updated June 20

It’s a new look, but the same great taste, at Back Door Donuts in Oak Bluffs. (Back Door Donuts is now the name for the front, as well as the back.)

After many years serving the Island its inimitable doughnuts, the bakery has undergone an extensive redesign to its front-shop bakery. Josh Biren, who helped bring the project to life, told The Times the bakery’s new look is focused on the customer.

The doughnut case is highlighted in the store, so it’s the first thing customers see when they walk in. In the middle of the store is an island counter displaying merchandise. Next to the registers is an added surface for people to pay if they are just getting coffee, which is now self-serve during the busy summer months.

“We wanted to design something that was more efficient, and a better experience for our customers,” Biren said.

The bakery saved the flooring and crown molding on the ceiling, but redid much of the store’s interior to focus on the customer, while doing their best to stay true to the original bakery. Previously, only 180 out of 550 square feet was dedicated to customers; that’s been doubled with two-thirds of the entire store now open for customer use.

Using all Island labor from architect Chuck Sullivan and contractors Bob Stafford and Mark Ellis, the bakery reduced its cases and installed a two-way doughnut display case so bakers can place doughnuts in on one side and staff can package them for customers on the other.

While the new design is focused on customers, it helps staff too.

Kathe Kiley is the new general manager and helped oversee the redesign with Biren. Both agreed the new design streamlined the entire customer process.

“With the new layout, when our staff is serving they can fulfill an order in five steps,” Biren said. “It’s really exciting to see people come in, see the space, and flow naturally.”

Before, staff was cramped behind a single counter, often requiring extra time to fulfill customer orders. While things are different, Biren says it’s all a learning process, and he encourages input. “We’re not going to get everything right, and we’re not afraid to make changes if we feel like we can do something better,” Biren said.

The new look comes ahead of the busy summer season. Biren hopes increased room for customers, a new self-service coffee station, and the same delicious product will improve service for the bakery.

On a crazy summer day, Biren says, the front bakery sells close to 1,000 donuts and 400 fritters. During the night at Back Door Donuts, sales numbers are about the same.

While the majority of renovations are complete, customers can look forward to seeing the walls decorated with local art and additional shelving. The bakery is also working on a gluten-free doughnut.

While there are several changes, Biren wants everyone to know the bakery is staying true to its product and taking the time to learn how to operate in the new space. “Same product, same staff,” Biren said.


Updated to add Kathe Kiley as general manager. — Ed.