Thursday, July 10, 2008


Yes, donuts make me lose control. I love 'em!!! So, when I heard about a new donut shop in town that had VEGAN donuts, I was quite excited. Yes, the vegan donuts were a perk, but heck... we all know that donuts make me fall off the vegan wagon.

Kreg and I checked out Buddha Belly Donuts in Sarasota last Sunday. We figured we'd pick up a few breakfast treats and then take the doggies for a walk (to burn off some of those fry calories!) I ordered four vegan donuts (two pink coconut and two oreo cookie) and one "regular" plain donut (this was my benchmark donut). The "benchmark" donut was kinda dry and a little tough but it was sorta light in texture. I'd give it a 6.5 out of 10 (with 10 being the best).

The vegan donuts were super heavy (a little heaviness is to be expected, and I was prepared) and the dough lacked salt. The donuts weren't greasy, so that's a plus, but they didn't really have any flavor and the texture was tough. The pink coconut topping was ok (I'm sure the pink food coloring wasn't natural), but it was too sweet. Same thing goes for the oreo topping plus it was so thick that it crumbled off before I could take a bite. Vegan donuts 4 out of 10.

It's cool to support local businesses but you've got to have a great product. I was really disappointed that the donuts weren't up to snuff. Will I go back? I don't know.


Jeanne said...

I have to disagree about Buddha Belly Donuts, I think they are delicious! I personally have not tried the vegan donuts but my granddaughter loves them and because she is allergic to eggs, they are a real treat for her. I am very happy to have a "made from scratch" donut shop locally and hope they do well. Perhaps you should give them another try, after all they have only been open less than 3 weeks.

buddhabellydonuts said...

Hi Kimmy,

I was rather disappointed to read your blog. I am truly sorry that your experience at Buddha Belly Donuts was not up to your expectations. However, I find it rather disconcerting that you chose to post it on your blog rather than give us some constructive feedback. At the time of your visit, July 5th, according to your blog, we had been open for a total of 9 whole days. If you had called us or come in to let us know that you felt we could have done a better job, we would have done everything we could to give you a much better experience and turn the situation around. After having been in the hospitality industry for over 40 combined years, my husband and I understand that sometimes, a person can have a less than stellar experience. I have found that it is usually a fluke and given a second chance you will find that out.

I also spoke with several food critics, it is unusual to review a restaurant in the first month of opening. With all new business there are some kinks to work out.

I am however happy to report that our vegan donuts are becoming very popular. We sold out by noon today and had requests all the way until 6PM tonight.

Most of our customers are repeat customers and have heard about us through word of mouth advertising. we are a small family owned business, trying to support our family. A negative blog such as yours could have a crippling effect on our business. In the future I would reccommend that you voice your concerns in the hope that you can make a positive difference in local business. We all want to support local businesses and part of that support would be to let those businesses know what they are doing right and what could be improved on.

Please feel free to contact me,
Laura Thompson, owner,
Buddha Belly donuts 952-0700

HonestJohn said...

Kimmy, you know I think your great; right? I'm sorry to say that after visiting Buddha Belly Donuts today, I couldn't disagree with you more.

Following a very friendly greeting, I enjoyed an apple pie donut - it was incredible! I heard it was very popular and I now know why. I started dreaming about a hot one with vanilla ice cream on top...

To be fair to you, I also tried a vegan donut. As a vegan virgin, I honestly have no frame of reference, but from my perspective, the donut was very good - certainly much better than I expected after reading your posting.

For those keeping score at home, I also had a plain donut, which tasted exactly the way I expected a plain donut to taste - plain.

While there, I polled other patrons and found 100% were enjoying their donuts and/or sandwiches - not a single complaint.

I figured one vegan donut entitled me to a roast beef sandwich, which was also VERY tasty. It was noon, so I didn't expect great coffee, but to my surprise it was also satisfying.

I'm guessing it was the owner, Laura I was talking with during my visit - excellent customer service!

After reading her posting and checking the place out myself, I recommend we go back together - my treat - and see if we can figure out why your experience was so much different than mine.

By the way I've been reading about the closing of over 600 Starbucks, I wonder if your blog has anything to do with it?

Anonymous said...

Haha everyone commenting is so honest. It's great.
I can't wait to try the doughnuts. I expect to this week. I've always had to make my own, as I didn't know vegan doughnut shops existed in Florida.

David said...

I was just there a couple of days ago after visiting Sarasota from Ohio. Frankly, including the beautiful white Siesta Key beach and the impressive Ringling museum, the vegan donuts were the highlight of my trip! I ate 4 cream filled and I still want more! I ordered a dozen the night before and picked them up about 8:00 the next morning. Two of us are vegan, my wife and other son are more or less vegetarian and my daughter has an egg allergy. We all loved them and kinda fought over them. Thank you so much for such a great product! My only complaint is that I wish the cinnamon rolls were vegan, they looked really good too! I will never go to Sarasota without getting me some donuts, I only wish they weren't so far away!

kimmy said...

hmm, tomorrow is the anniversary of this post... perhaps i should try another one of these donuts. ;)

HonestJohn said...

Has it been a year already? Wow! Well, I can't count how many times I've been back to Buddha. I'll still grab an occasional delish donut, but I've moved on to the lunch specials. The hamburger (with bacon) is awesome. I haven't had a bad lunch - ever. I didn't try the tomato soup and sandwich, only because that's something I would eat at home when I can't find anything else - not something I'd go out to lunch for. They still have the same wonderful staff, too... Looking forward to more great food at Buddha Belly!

jewels4938 said...

Dear Buddha Belly Donuts,

I'm sorry to hear that this customer had a less than satisfactory experience at your establishment. As with all new businesses, especially restaurants, kinks in the first month or so are expected. First impressions, however, are lasting. This customer seems to have been excited to visit your store and felt the product just came up short. I would actually like to commend this customer for actually letting you know. You may not feel this person did so because she wrote about it on her blog, but she did tell you because you found her post and commented on it. It's the 21st century. People are more likely to tell others about their experience via the world wide web than to bother busy business owners with complaints. Also, research done by a vary prestigious hospitality chain showed that for every complaint uttered to an employee or manager by an unhappy customer, 25 other people never said a word and never returned to that business. I understand that this is your business and your livelihood. However, I would recommend that should you have an experience similar to this one with a customer via the web, please don't try and make them feel guilty for expressing their opinion. I think instead of chastising her, as the business owner, you should have apologized for her negative experience, kindly reminded her that it was only your 9th day open, and invited her back in the following month for a free donut. That may have won her back as a customer. It's basic customer service knowledge that a person with a bad experience can cost your business thousands upon thousands of dollars. I am a Sarasota native and would love for your business to prosper. Please don't ruin that opportunity by turning this customer from skeptical to an anti-customer.