We are a legacy brand with a great story to tell.

Donatos Founded

Donatos was founded by 19-year-old Columbus, Ohio native Jim Grote who borrowed $1,300 and had a vision for a company that put customers first.

Original Donatos Location

Commissary Kitchen Opened

The centralized kitchen opened with the goal of having a consistent product at every Donatos location

Donatos First Franchise Location; Dough Innovation Center Opens

Donatos opened its first franchised location in Zanesville, Ohio. The same year, Donatos built its proprietary, world-class Dough Innovation Center to further ensure product consistency.

Acquired by McDonald’s

Impressed by the brand, McDonald’s acquired Donatos and sought to expand the brand nationwide.
Acquired by McDonald's

Re-acquired by Founders

Donatos was re-acquired by Jim Grote and Jane Grote Abell so the business could grow on the values and culture it was founded.

Undercover Boss

Donatos celebrated 50 years in business with Jane Grote Abell’s appearance on season 5 of Undercover Boss. To watch the full episode, start a free trial or log in to CBS All Access »

The Missing Piece

Jane Grote Abell’s book The Missing Piece: Doing Business the Donatos Way was published. It tells the story of a classic American family business, and key learnings from her four decades of experience growing Donatos into the franchise it is today.

Continued Growth

More than 160 Donatos restaurants are open, and we’re looking for multi-unit operators to help us bring the brand to more cities.

We deliver on our promise to you, your associates and your community. 

Donatos is a family-owned, privately held company that treats our Franchise Partners like they are part of the family. Our mission is to promote goodwill through our products and service, principles and people. The home office team and Franchise Partners are active in the communities that they serve and beyond just providing jobs, we strive to offer mentoring and growth opportunities for the people who work for us. Our 75% associate retention rate is a testament to our efforts. Our Founder Jim Grote’s daughter, Jane Grote Abell, brings her dad’s philosophy to life by promoting goodwill in the communities Donatos serves. The Donatos Family Promise Fund helps associates in need of financial support.

“I initiated a Donatos Pizza exhibit at our local Children’s Museum and the Home Office Team supported me all the way.”

Christina Vogel
Multi-Unit Franchise Partner

“I started at Donatos when I was 15 years old. Now I give young kids those same opportunities when I hire them. Over the years, they come back to the restaurant and they’re all grown up and have families. And they thank me.”

Brian Crumley
Multi-Unit Franchise Partner

We have a deep commitment to the environment, too.

The Donatos promise to give back to the community extends to our sustainability efforts, which include:

  • With the purchase of a new shrink-wrap machine, Donatos is saving 125,000 pounds of plastic from going into landfills.
  • Excess dough remnants from the bakery are not discarded to landfills, but instead provided to poultry and hog farmers as supplemental feed.
  • Our FSI-certified pizza boxes are made from 100% natural fiber, and our napkins are 100% FSC certified.
  • Donatos uses 100% compostable bowls and lids for salads and appetizers.

For example, just by ordering more sustainably packaged ingredients:

Our executive team shares to a deep commitment to our Franchise Partners’ success.

Jane Grote Abell - Executive Chairwoman of the Board & Chief Purpose Officer

Jane Grote AbellJane is a founding family member of Donatos Pizza, and over the last four decades, she has held a variety of positions with the brand including Chief People Officer, SVP of Business Development, Chief Operations Officer and President. In 2003, Jane led the successful effort to buy Donatos back from McDonald’s which they purchased in 1999, and since then, her leadership has been pivotal for the expansion of the company. Beyond her current role where she is responsible for the strategic direction of the company, she is also an author of THE MISSING PIECE: Doing Business the Donatos Way. She is an expert in the field of culture, and an in-demand speaker. Jane is a strong community leader and active with many non-profits. Most notably, she is co-founder and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Reeb Avenue Center, and raised in excess of $16M to create a new model for lifting people out of poverty.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Cauliflower Heat Pizza

Tom Krouse - President & CEO

TomTom has been a part of the Donatos family since 2000, serving in various leadership roles before being named President and CEO of the family-owned company in 2010 as he became only the fourth CEO in the company’s history. With over three decades of restaurant industry experience, countless civic contributions, and an award-winning career in marketing and management, he oversees the company’s restaurant division as well as the consumer products division of Donatos.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Edge to Edge® Pepperoni Pizza

Doug Kourie - CFO
DougLike many at Donatos, Doug was a brand fan first, back in his high school days. He later worked for Donatos as their auditor and eventually joined the Donatos Executive Team. Today he brings more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry to his role as CFO.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza

Jeff Baldwin - CCIM, VP of Development and Franchising
JeffJeff has been involved with multiple brands over his 25-year career in real estate development and franchising. He oversees all aspects of real estate and franchising. He has been instrumental in the growth of Donatos in the Midwest and Southeast and led the redesign and rebranding of Donatos.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza

Amos Durbin - VP, Franchise Operations
AmosWith extensive experience improving operations for hundreds of restaurants under brands like dineEquity (IHOP) and Red Robin, Amos now works with Donatos Franchise Partners to help ensure their businesses are running smoothly and successfully.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Founder’s Favorite®

Nikki Stead - Vice President, People Services

NikkiNikki’s career started with Donatos at our Brice Road location when she was just 15 years old.  With a passion for people and operations she moved through many positions including Restaurant General Manager, District Manager and Director of People and Culture.  Nikki is now leading a dynamic People Services Team that is focused on building and supporting a diverse workforce.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Chicken Spinach Mozzarella Pizza

Cheryl Bergsman - Vice President, Company Operations

CherylCheryl’s career started with Donatos as a crew member in Gahanna. With a passion for the restaurant industry and a desire to put her Hospitality degree from The Ohio State University to use, she quickly moved through many positions including General Manager, District Manager and Director of Operations Development. Cheryl is now leading the Company Operations team overseeing 54 locations where she is focused on fostering an environment of learning and growth that creates solid leaders and operations experts.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Create Your Own Pizza topped with mushrooms, green peppers and sausage

Stan Jacot - President, Jane’s Dough Foods
The best pizza starts with the best pizza crusts, and Jane’s Dough Foods ensures the last bite is as good as the first. Stan also uses his 25+ years of consumer-packaged goods experience to grow presence in the grocery store frozen pizza aisle with brands Sonoma Flatbreads and Donatos.

FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Woodfired Chipotle Dry Rub Wings

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