We are a legacy brand with a great story to tell.
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.
The centralized kitchen opened with the goal of having a consistent product at every Donatos location
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.
Impressed by the brand, McDonald’s acquired Donatos and sought to expand the brand nationwide.
Donatos was re-acquired by Jim Grote and Jane Grote Abell so the business could grow on the values and culture it was founded.
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 »
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.
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.”
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.”
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 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
Tom 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
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza
Jeff Baldwin - CCIM, VP of Development and Franchising
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Pepperoni & Mushroom Pizza
Amos Durbin - VP, Franchise Operations
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Founder’s Favorite®
Nikki Stead - Vice President, People Services
Nikki’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
Cheryl’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