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Entrepreneurs: Doughy idea proves tasty for Joseph Francabandiero

Who: Joseph Francabandiero, owner, Dough Life

What he's doing: Dough Life restaurants serve raw cookie dough that is scooped like ice cream and served in cones and dishes. The dough is made using treated flour and doesn’t contain eggs, which makes it safe to eat without baking.

The first store, which opened at the Walden Galleria in May, drew lines 300 people long and sold nearly 2 tons of cookie dough during its first few days. Another location opened at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls in October, followed by stores in Albany and Syracuse.

Dough Life was opened under the name Dough Boyz, but Francabandiero switched the moniker in January after General Mills, which owns Pillsbury and its Doughboy mascot, sent a cease-and-desist letter.

Why he defines the entrepreneurial spirit: Everyone sneaks a few bites of cookie dough when baking. Francabandiero went all in on that forbidden treat, banking on his instinct that consumers would indulge to their heart’s content if they could do so safely.

Francabandiero is not the first purveyor of edible cookie dough. There are dozens of dough-only shops around the country, from DŌ, and Edoughble in New York City to the Cookie Jar in Washington, D.C., and the Doughlicious food truck in Florida. The treat has also made its way onto restaurant dessert menus, such as the Little Donkey in Massachusetts.

But Francabandiero is the first to bring an all-cookie-dough restaurant to Western New York. He thought a mall snack kiosk would be a good way to test the restaurant industry, and his success came as a complete surprise.

Advice for the new entrepreneur: “A lot of people are going to tell you it’s a dumb idea or that you’re not going to be successful. You just have to keep your head down and grind forward.”

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