The Fast-Casual Restaurant Industry is Perfect for Multi-Unit Growth

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Over the last several years, the fast-casual industry has experienced phenomenal growth. According to Expert Market Research, the fast-casual industry was valued at $1.87 billion in 2022 and will continue to grow in value, with projections to hit $364.5 billion by 2028. Donatos is no exception, opening 55 new locations last year, including five traditional units and more than 50 strategic partnerships, per Pizza Marketplace. There’s never been a better time to partner with Donatos for those looking for multi-unit growth. Our fine-tuned operational efficiency, product quality and consistency, and high-level support interwoven with brand values ensure that franchise partners get the most out of their businesses and feel confident in their future success.

Operational Efficiency 

Fast-casual restaurants are designed to provide customers with high-quality food quickly and efficiently. At Donatos, customers can order their pizza at or via the Donatos app, over the phone, or in person. This allows each location to serve more customers per hour than a traditional sit-down restaurant, translating to higher revenue per square foot. Our fast-casual model allows for streamlined, simplified operations and lower labor costs compared to those at full-service restaurants. It’s no surprise that Donatos is one of the strongest financial performers in the pizza segment, and with our current operational strategies and business efficiency, we’re proud to have set franchisees up with the perfect environment for multi-unit growth.

Consistency and Quality

Consistency and quality are crucial in the fast-casual restaurant industry, particularly in the pizza segment. Customers expect their pizza to taste the same and receive top-notch service at every location, and Donatos has built its reputation on delivering a consistently high-quality product that doesn’t disappoint. In March of 2023, Kentucky resident Bill Aseere and his partners at Space Cowboys signed a deal that brought them to a total of 17 units owned. All units were obtained in under 5 years, further demonstrating the success of current industry conditions that multi-unit franchisors should take notice of. As a testament to his love for the brand and its performance, Bill notes that customers will “be hooked because of the quality,” he says. “We are so proud and confident of our product that we put our toppings on top of our cheese because we aren’t scared to show you exactly what you are buying—a perfect combination of quality and quantity.”

Values and Support

Every Donatos franchise partner is more than a business owner or entrepreneur; they’re also people who are aligned with Donatos’ values and company mission— to “promote goodwill through product, service, principles and people.” The consistency of this mindset throughout the brand helps franchise partners make important decisions when it comes to growing their businesses. These, along with personalized support from the home office, aid franchise partners in analyzing what’s most important when they begin expansion into additional units. 

Multi-unit franchise partners Sean and Jennifer Byrne opened their first restaurant in January 2017 and demonstrate how their Donatos locations have flourished with a values-centered business mindset. “I believe Donatos is the right franchise opportunity for us because the culture that they have is exactly the way we want it to be run. They care about people first, they care about their community, everybody gets a piece of it. Just a great organization top to bottom…they seem to have a fun time doing their job. Like [Donatos says], pizza is fun!” Multi-unit owners are passionate about living by Donatos values, and it shows. Donatos restaurants have a 35% higher AUV than the average of the Top 5 pizza chains in the US and continue to successfully execute goals through brand support and value-based work.

In 2023, the fast-casual restaurant industry is perfectly suited for multi-unit growth, particularly in the pizza segment. Donatos has leveraged efficiency, consistency, values, and support in our fast-casual model to expand our reach and build a loyal customer base. With these elements in mind, those seeking multi-unit franchising opportunities can feel confident in the future of their Donatos businesses, securing success and achieving personal and professional goals.

Are you ready to begin or expand your Donatos franchise journey? Learn more here:

* Calculation and further explanation of the Average Net Sales and the sales increase between years for covered restaurants appear in Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document. Individual results may differ. Please see Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document for further financial disclosures.

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