We are a legacy brand with a great story to tell.
The Donatos story is one of pride and success. It’s a story that our Franchise Partners are truly proud to be part of, as it continues to evolve.
We deliver on our promise to you 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.
We’re 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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
Our executive team is committed to the success of our Franchise Partners.
Jane Grote Abell
Executive Chairwoman, Chief People Officer and Founding Family Member
Jane is a founding family member of Donatos Pizza, and over the last four decades, Jane has held a variety of positions with the brand. She was a major catalyst behind the decision to purchase Donatos back from McDonald’s and assisted with the expansion of the company since the purchase was made. Jane is also a strong community leader, is involved with many charities and social services in the Columbus area, and authored The Missing Piece: Doing Business the Donatos Way.
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Cauliflower Heat Pizza
President & CEO
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Edge to Edge® Pepperoni Pizza
Like 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
CCIM, VP of Development and Franchising
Jeff 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
VP, Franchise Operations
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Founder’s Favorite®
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
Vice President, Company Operations
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Create Your Own Pizza topped with mushrooms, green peppers and sausage
Director of Menu Innovation, Chef
Cynthia studies competitive data and customer feedback to ensure we deliver on flavor and demand. She leads the charge on executing changes to existing menu ingredients and new product roll-outs. With a background as impressive as her palate, she’s worked for brands such as Thornton’s, Wendy’s, ConAgra Foods, and Hardee’s
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Hot Chicken Pizza
Senior Coordinator of Menu Innovation, Chef
By watching trends, Lenae keeps us current on food trends and spearheads production technological advancements. Prior to joining the team, she built up impressive experience as a chef, sous chef, kitchen manager, catering and purchasing manager and overall restaurant Renaissance woman.
FAVORITE MENU ITEM: Hot Chicken Pizza