347: A passion for donuts and life with Leigh Kellis

The idea for The Holy Donut grew out of a craving. Leigh Kellis wanted a donut made with fresh ingredients that she could feel good about eating. Since she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she decided to create it herself. Thus, The Holy Donut was born in 2011. Six years later Leigh has scaled The Holy Donut from an apartment kitchen wholesale shop to a 3 locations operation with 80 employees.

In this episode we will discuss: creating what you think is missing in your community. The anti-Dunkin’ Donuts come to life. Everything’s better with potatoes. Making donuts with potatoes. Starting a business with no overhead. The importance of testing the market BEFORE you sink too much money into your idea. Taking the risk of quitting your job to devote yourself to your idea. Welcoming change while staying true to your mission. Take your time before you grow and expand. Working with family. Spreading happiness through food and drink. Food as more than calories to keep you alive.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

A passion for donuts, life, comfort, flavor, creating something that’s a throwback to bring people happiness and joy in their day.

Today’s Sponsor


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Career Challenge or Failure

Occasional lack of “follow through” on all my creative ideas.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?


  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    Too many creative ideas. It’s hard to stay focused on the most important one.

  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    Stay positive. Give people compliments. Remember their names.

  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    Will they show up?

  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    Always product volume. Track data to perfect your volume.

  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    Treat people well and we’re friendly.

  7. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?


    The Power of the Positive No by William Ury The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber

  8. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    MOOD: Music system     Toast POS

  9. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?

    Ask for help. Chill out. Have faith.

  10. What is one question you think should be added to this interview?

    What’s next?

Contact Info


Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Leigh Kellis for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!