Bayan Sharafi is owner of Baked Doughnuts.
Tell me about Baked Doughnuts. When did you first open it and what makes it unique in the marketplace?
Sharafi: I opened Baked Doughnuts on Nov. 1. What makes it different is it’s not like your normal doughnut shop. It has a niche. We specifically service people who have celiac disease so it’s all gluten-free products. And it’s all vegan as well. So our doughnut bases are dairy-free. They’re lactose-free. There’s no whey protein. We use pea protein. And we use a rice flour base.
So that way if you have any sort of allergies you can still enjoy these doughnuts.
But overall what makes it different is that I’ve made them based off macro friendly way so it provides you the satisfaction of a normal doughnut but at the same time you get protein from us. A lot of us don’t get enough protein in the day. So it’s like how do I find a way to provide some sort of essential nutrient in a satisfying dessert.
How do you convince consumers that the doughnuts you have are healthy?
Sharafi: I don’t convince them. We call them doughnut cakes because I know when you say the word doughnut you associate it with a deep-fried dough. Because they’re not deep fried and because they’re baked and it’s a cake texture, I call them doughnut cakes now.
But when we use the word healthy it’s in comparison to your average doughnut. Because it’s about macro density. If you were to compare a tablespoon of avocado to a tablespoon of coconut oil or to butter, they all have the same macro value but one’s obviously going to be better for your health than the other.
So instead of using like processed sugars and flour and grease, we use organic coconut sugar and we use rice flour. So we use more wholesome ingredients and everything’s handmade. We use organic pea protein. That’s where the word healthy comes in just compared to your average treat that you normally get.
Why did you decide to open in the CORE shopping centre?
Sharafi: It was an opportunity that presented itself and the CORE has a lot of value. It’s a great place to be and as soon as we saw that opportunity, we had the privilege of meeting with the people who run everything. We brought them doughnuts. They liked the whole idea and the whole concept. They knew it could work because a lot of the office people who are around that area are very health conscious.
In that whole food court, there’s really no healthy options, especially for desserts. As soon as we had that opportunity, we wanted to take advantage of it. It’s been great so far. I’m very blessed to be a part of the CORE mall.
How has business been since you first opened?
Sharafi: It’s good. It’s something, because it’s so different, that takes time to grow. So obviously the first couple of months people were wondering “Why are you guys putting yogurt on these doughnuts?” It’s so weird for a lot of people.
I didn’t realize how many people have celiac disease, how many people have allergies. There’s so many allergies. So because we can provide all of these treats for people who have these allergies, it’s growing a lot faster than I had thought. Every month is getting busier and busier.
What are your plans for the future for the brand? More stores?
Sharafi: The big plan is I would like to franchise in the United States. I would love to be able to open another in Canada but pricing is an issue. All my ingredients come from the States. So it’s really expensive to run something like this here.
What I would like to do is open my next store in Chicago and then open up another 30 shops in the States. I love Chicago and the company that I am sponsored by – that I write recipes for – is Optimum Nutrition and they’re based out of Chicago, so I wanted to provide them the recipes, still work for them and grow this business.
– Mario Toneguzzi for Calgary’s Business