Why Dominique Ansel Won't Open Cronut Shops On A Mass Scale - Exclusive

The Cronut is arguably one of the most sensational things to happen in the world of modern pastries. Before this croissant-donut hybrid was introduced in 2013, people were not often lining up en masse to get their hands on fresh-baked sugary confections. And 10 years later, not only is the Cronut still as popular as ever, it's inspired a whole new wave of creativity among bakeries in NYC and all over the world, albeit with an Instagram-minded approach. 

When renowned pastry chef Dominique Ansel sold his first Cronut, he had a single bakery in New York City's Soho neighborhood. Today, he's scaled up, but not by much. Today, you can get your Cronut fix (and try some of Ansel's other whimsical creations) at his New York bakery, his location in Hong Kong, and his newest shop in Las Vegas. And that's pretty much it. If you're holding out hope that Ansel will expand his Cronut operation on a mass scale, then you'll be sorely disappointed. The chef says he has no plans to go big with his baking business, preferring to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to his sweet treats. 

While speaking exclusively with Tasting Table about the anniversary of the Cronut and what its legacy means to him, chef Ansel explained why he plans to keep his baking operations on a small scale, even as demand for the Cronut continues to grow.

Ansel has no interest in the logistics of mass production

The Cronut was basically an overnight sensation, and even now, customer demand is never fully met. "We still sell out every single day," Dominique Ansel says. He's faced calls to grow his business since the very beginning, telling Tasting Table that well-meaning business consultants would tell him "it's a matter of the amount of supply ... you have to grow it. You have to open a factory. You have to mass market it ... You have to go all around the world." And while Ansel could have easily done all of that with great success, at the end of the day, "I didn't want any of this," he says.

The chef explained that he made this choice early on: "I always said I don't want my creation to kill my creativity." While there's always the option to cut a deal and rake in the cash, Ansel says things can go south very quickly when the entire business becomes centered around money rather than passion or even the item being sold. "I didn't want to make a product that I was not proud of."

Quality over quantity is what drives Dominique Ansel

Chef and bakery owner Dominique Ansel says the "most important [thing] for me is really not the quantity. It's the quality of what we do." His commitment to remaining small has aided both his business and his personal legacy. Having a limited supply of something that people are fascinated with is typically a great marketing tactic in and of itself, and in this case, it's certainly served Ansel well. "We still have long lines every single day. ... We still change the flavors and make it exciting for the guests," Ansel tells Tasting Table. "I think it's more beautiful than trying to mass market a product and kill it forever."

Furthermore, without the pressure to constantly do more, Ansel says he can focus on the things that matter most to him, "like helping charities, telling the true stories, staying true to myself." Ansel says he's proud of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he's been able to give back to food-related causes, as well as the unique community that he's fostered around the Cronut. "I think this is also part of my legacy for people to remember that they had a unique experience at the bakery."