A rescued dog sparked one of Atlanta’s most-loved, all-natural, handmade dog treats.
The path to becoming the dog biscuit queen of Atlanta wasn’t a straight one for Lauren Janis, owner of Big Daddy Biscuits and a resident of East Atlanta for over twenty years.
After Lauren was laid off from her job at Delta Global Services, a friend of hers found a homeless dog on the street. The dog was malnutritioned and ill, as most homeless dogs are, and the friend took him to Lauren’s house. Lauren nursed the dog back to health; that dog was Big Daddy, now a 12-year-old American Bulldog, who became the namesake and face (literally) of Big Daddy Biscuits.
It was seeing how Big Daddy responded so well to nutritious dog food that encouraged her to create something similar on her own. Though she had no experience baking dog biscuits, she quickly caught on and began to enjoy herself. Big Daddy enjoyed being the chief quality control officer as well, as he would get to try the treats made and give them his bark of approval–or not.
Lauren is a one-woman show, with a little help from her baker friends. She and her crew make all of the biscuits by hand, in small batches, and ship them out to the various retailers who carry Big Daddy products. “I call us a non-discriminatory dog biscuit company, because we do grain and grain-free. Not all dogs can have grain, so I want to make sure everyone can purchase from us.”
Lauren is so dedicated to making Big Daddy Biscuits as nutritious as they are flavorful, that she partnered with meal kit powerhouse Peach Dish to make sure each batch of Big Daddy Biscuits are nutritionally balanced as well as tasty. Flavors include Crunchy Peanut Butter, You Had Me At Bacon, Dinner Mints, and Grain-Free Peanut Butter. All biscuits come in 7.5-oz bags.
What started as a way to care for her dog has become a treat for dog lovers nationwide.”We started doing farmers’ markets; now we’re in 53 retail locations throughout the United States.” You can find Big Daddy Biscuits at local stores including Park Pet Supply, Whole Foods, Joe’s Coffee Shop, and even Revolution Doughnuts.
As a proponent of natural eating, Big Daddy Biscuits sources its ingredients from local Georgia farmers whenever possible “because we believe in knowing what our food’s like, and giving back to our community and our state, because we gotta keep our money where we live.” The corn and meal and whole wheat flour used in the biscuits comes from Dayspring Farms in Danielsville, GA; eggs come from various vendors at the local farmers markets where Big Daddy Biscuits are sold.
Big Daddy Biscuits are so popular, it’s natural to think that Lauren would want to branch out into a brick-and-mortar store. However, that’s not the case. “I have so many friends that have pet stores, so there’s no reason to have a store.” Indeed, between the pet stores and the farmers markets, Big Daddy Biscuits is doing just fine.
As for product expansion from dog biscuits to perhaps dog (or cat) food, Lauren remains equally hesitant. “That’s a whole ‘nother avenue, because it has to go to the FDA, and all that, and you have to be processed…so many other people do it so well, so let them do what they do best and I’ll do what I do best.”
Cat lovers, don’t fret: Big Daddy is working on cat treats. In the meantime, your cat may like the dog version (I know mine did). You can also get some dog soap, or some Big Daddy Swag.
Big Daddy Biscuits is a testament to the power of love and how it can transform every life it touches. For Lauren and Big Daddy, the road less traveled has worked out well for both of them–they saved each other, and made lives more delicious in the process.