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Meet Dave Rhode and John Miller of JD Flannel Donuts and Coffee in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Rhode and John Miller.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Dave and John. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
They say friendship and business don’t mix, but our business was started precisely because of friendship and a calling to serve. I have been friends with my business partner, John, for over 35 years. We both had corporate jobs for many years and we were at a stage in life where we wanted to build a small business where we could serve our community. While John has always loved donuts, and I can drink twenty cups of coffee a day, our decision to start a donut and coffee shop simply had more to do with wanting to do things differently. Most food today is all about being cheap, quick, and convenient, especially with donuts and coffee. We both had desire to go against the strong currents of convenience and embrace making our donuts from scratch and creating our own special blend of coffee. The word we like to use to describe our shop is “authentic.” We want our food to reflect the authenticity of the ingredients and baking processes, which is why we have adopted the slogan “the taste of real.” Our journey so far has been unbelievable. Looking at our customers’ reviews on Yelp and Google has been humbling, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to serve food products that we can fully stand behind because they are our own recipes!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
After spending a couple of months working on perfecting our dough in our own kitchens, our wives finally kicked us out of our houses (we are serious!). We had to spend the next four months working outside with a small turkey fryer to fully understand how our dough performed and tasted. And then there was the time when our trailer hitch came undone when we were taking our commercial mixers and fryers to the shop…but I digress. Since our opening, the greatest challenge has been to appropriately staff the kitchen to meet the customer demand, especially during our first two months. On our third Saturday of being open, it was raining hard outside. Despite the rain, we had a line out our door because people wanted to see what we were all about, and we simply didn’t have enough bakers to produce donuts just-in-time. Regrettably, we had to close our doors that day around 11:00 am that morning. We have come a long way since then, but meeting customer demand while making donuts fresh is a daily (and enjoyable) challenge.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about JD Flannel Donuts and Coffee – what should we know?
We have now officially been open for eight months. We like to think that there are several things that are unique about JD Flannel, including the name! J is for John, and D is for Dave. Boring, I know. But the image of flannel is one that we just love as it symbolizes warmth, comfort, and authenticity…and we just happen to be jeans-and-flannel types of guys. From a product perspective, we are unique in that we do not use pre-made donut mix; instead, we hand-craft our donuts from scratch without preservatives or artificial flavors. We use thoughtfully sourced, high-end ingredients, to include real vanilla, pure maple syrup, fresh homemade jellies and fruit compotes. Importantly, we serve both unique seasonal and savory donuts as well as classic flavors (e.g. buttermilk old fashioned); as a result, our customers will tell you that coming to our shop is an elevated donut experience. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible work and creativity of our executive chef, Lindsay Jones. Lindsay, who has worked with several top-tier chefs in her young career, has been an instrumental part of the shop as she has fine-tuned our dough and created amazing glazes, jams, fillings, and toppings. Since everything is made in-house, Lindsay is one of the stars of our shop! Our coffee is also unique as it is a special blend medium-dark roast coffee that has a smooth finish and pairs well with our gourmet donuts. The last thing we want people to know about JD Flannel is that we are keenly focused on the experience each person has. We want people to feel welcome…we want them to know that they are valuable…and we want to serve them a treat that we know is just made better.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Authenticity is incredibly important to us and to the success of our business. There are two primary ways we feel that we can communicate and display authenticity to those we serve in our shop. First, we want everyone who comes through our doors to taste the difference between donuts made with authentic ingredients and flavors versus ones made from a mix. Second, we want to communicate in a very real way that everyone in this world is immeasurably valuable. Our hope is that we can engage in relationships where we have to opportunity to listen to others, encourage and support them, and, ultimately, serve them well. If we are able to remember that we are valued and loved by others, then we won’t feel an intense pressure to be someone who we aren’t and fake our way through life. I know that’s pretty philosophical, but it’s true. And it’s that very idea…that we are all valuable…that we want to permeate through our store. It is our hope that our customers truly feel a difference when they step inside JD Flannel. As an aside, one of the coolest things we do as a team is have “family meal” on Friday mornings. It is a simple but important event to authentically serve each other, share a few laughs and smiles, and remind each other that each one of us has tremendous value as both an individual and a member of our team. Now that’s the real, good life!

Contact Info:

  • Address: 31878 Del Obispo St, Suite #122 San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
  • Website: www.jdflannel.com
  • Phone: (949) 218-4483
  • Email: info@jdflannel.com

Image Credit:
A single shot photography galleries.

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