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Experienced Franchisees Bring Donatos to Virginia Beach

Ricky Singh and Jay Patel have a lot cooking when it comes to franchising.

The duo have owned and operated three Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations throughout Virginia and still own one to date. And in addition to their franchise history together, Jay is also a partner in three Virginia Beach Subway franchise locations. With experience like this, Donatos is happy to welcome Ricky and Jay to the Donatos Franchise Family.

They have signed an agreement for three locations — the first of which will be located at 1833 Republic Road — but they are excited to continue growth in other areas of the state with even more locations. They bought territories that include the ability to open Donatos Pizza franchises in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.

Click here to read the full story and then fill out the form if you’re interested in franchising like Ricky and Jay.

Pre-game Pizza Inspires Brand Fans to Become Franchise Partners

Some would tell you that buying a franchise is strictly a rational decision based on research and crunching the numbers. While that is certainly important, we contend that buying a business is also an emotional decision.

For Sean and Jennifer Byrne, their a-ha moment came when they got in the habit of stopping for a Donatos pizza before heading to Kentucky football games. It became a ritual for the couple, as anticipated as the game itself. They decided that they needed to share their love for Donatos in their hometown of Owensboro, KY. Now, with their business partners Mark and Liane Riney, Sean and Jennifer have plans to open a second location in Evansville, Indiana and another in the Tri-State area.

Jennifer said that Donatos family-owned culture was a great fit. “Donatos cares about family first, they care about the community, everybody gets a piece of it. And they are all having fun doing it.”

“For my business partners and me, it began with loving the pizza. But it’s even more than that. Donatos promotes goodwill through its products, principles, service and people. It’s something we are very proud to own,” said Sean.

If you are ready to start the conversation about opening your own Donatos franchise in your hometown, submit the form below.

Donatos Pizza Announces Strategic Hires of CMIO and VP of Franchise Operations

Donatos Pizza announced two hires, naming Kevin Myers as Chief Marketing and Information Officer (CMIO) and Amos Durbin as Vice President of Franchise Operations. Both new hires have a February 13, 2018 start date.

“We have a mission to make a difference in the communities we serve, and with added franchise growth and sales, we’ll be able to make an even greater impact,” said Tom Krouse, president and CEO of Donatos. “The additions of Kevin and Amos, leaders of their respective industries, empower us to better serve our franchise partners, our customers and our communities.”

Myers joins Donatos following an impressive career in both the marketing and technology industries, including tenure as executive vice president of marketing and sales at global retail food leader Cold Stone Creamery. In this role, he was responsible for the marketing strategy that led Cold Stone Creamery to grow from a few hundred stores to over 1,400 across 10 countries, resulting in a $500 million business. As CMIO, Myers will lead marketing, IT and technology for Donatos focusing on converting data to both influence and elevate Donatos’ customer experience.

“Companies must focus on connecting the whole brand with the data their customers provide in order to better serve its audience and attract new consumers,” said Myers. “I’m thrilled to be able to use my past experience to integrate Donatos marketing and technology for a more robust customer experience as restaurant technology continues to evolve.”

Over the past few years, the pizza company has refined its market entry strategy and simplified operations, opening eight new stores across seven new markets. Driving increased market entry and saturation through highly successful stores is a key tactic that allows Donatos to compete and innovate with greater speed and efficiency.

As vice president of franchise operations, Durbin will lead franchise growth and streamline operations. Prior to joining Donatos, he was vice president of franchise operations at dineEquity where he represented IHOP in the family dining segment, supporting 16 district managers and two directors of operations across 68 restaurants. Before dineEquity, he worked more than 12 years at Red Robin where he led five district managers supporting 32 restaurants with $106 million in revenue and opened 108 new restaurants.

“With 159 stores across nine states, Donatos has already demonstrated significant success, all without sacrificing the consistency and high quality its known for,” said Durbin. “Franchise growth is the important piece that will take Donatos to the next level in terms of sales and market presence, and the whole company is rallying behind not only meeting but exceeding growth goals. The excitement is infectious and I look forward to working with the company to make its presence and operations even stronger throughout new and existing markets.”

To support the eight to 10 store openings throughout the Midwest and Southeast territories in the next year, Donatos veteran Tim Young will be promoted to director, new store opening success, a newly-created role that is dedicated to fostering the success of new stores and attracting new franchise partners. Additionally, Karen Kuntz, will be promoted from Franchise Business Consultant to Senior Franchise Business Consultant.

Donatos Pizza President & CEO Stays in Tune with His Company Mission

A recent article by Donatos President & CEO Tom Krouse on the Business News Daily website used an apt metaphor for how the company connects with guests, associates, and shareholders—music. Using his experience playing with a band, Krouse outlines some simple and memorable lessons that can lead to business success:

  • Know your audience and play to their preferences.
  • Keep your message concise, consistent, and compelling (alliteration is a good song-writing tool, too).
  • Repetition helps people remember who you are.
  • Change things up to keep people engaged.

To learn more about how Tom Krouse uses his love of music to guide business decisions for his 160-store pizza franchise, click here. Then, fill out the learn more form below to start on your path to becoming a Donatos Franchise Partner.

Giving More Than You Get is Important to Donatos

A recent article in Nation’s Restaurant News cited a speech given by Donatos President and CEO, Tom Krouse, about the role that restaurants play in communities. Moving beyond the merely transactional role that restaurants play, Krouse reminded his audience that that they are “stewards of the special moments in people’s lives.” While the customer is enjoying a delicious pizza, the Franchise Partner is also providing hospitality, training for its associates, first jobs, family connections and community connections as well. Krouse calls this, “giving much more than we get.”

Donatos Franchise Partners know this equation well. Todd Rogers, who owns 19 Donatos locations, talked about what Donatos tagline “Every Piece is Important” means to him. “That’s a big statement because it’s not just about the product. It’s about the people, our associates, our facilities, our customers, our service. Without each piece, we can’t deliver the whole product.”

Franchise Partner Doug DeVilbiss echoes that sentiment. “At Donatos we say, “Every Piece is Important”, and it’s true. It’s not just about the pizza. It’s about the people, it’s about the community. What we do is important,” said DeVilbiss.

Franchise Partner Brian Crumley understands the value of what a restaurant can do for people in the community, too. It happened in his own life when he was 15 years old and still in high school. His three older brothers all worked at Donatos and he followed in their footsteps.

“I worked there for twelve years and then I decided to become a Franchise Partner so that I could better support a family and hopefully have a business that someday my kids would want to work at,” he said.

Read the full article from Nation’s Restaurant News and learn why joining the Donatos family means promoting goodwill through our products and service, principles and people.

Food Industry Veteran Mike Simon is Proud of his Donatos Pizza Empire

With more than 25 years of experience with other restaurant franchise brands, Mike Simon chose Donatos and brings his love for the brand to 42 Donatos locations, 21 in Indianapolis, 16 in the Cincinnati area and five in Cleveland. He was first introduced to the brand by his business partner, who had lived in the Columbus area. Like the scads of people who visit Donatos, Simon loved the product first and foremost. As he looked at becoming a multi-unit Franchise Partner with Donatos, he was equally impressed with the Donatos culture.

“I liked the fact that it is a family-owned company, and that people-first attitude really came through. Plus, this is a fun business,” said Simon.

Not surprisingly, with a staff of more than 1,000 people, Simon’s days are jam-packed. He is an early riser, typically checking store sales by 4:30 a.m., heading to the office in the morning, and traveling to his locations three weeks out of the month to stay connected to his staff and his restaurant. Despite his busy schedule, Simon is underst

His restaurants are also testing grounds for new innovations, like the new store design, which premiered in August of 2016. He saw sales rise by 14% in November of that year, with more people dining in and picking up from the restaurant.

“People love the new design, but they wouldn’t want us to change a thing about our pizza. Our Edge to Edge® thin crust pizza and fresh toppings are what keep them coming back again and again,” said Simon.

Donatos Sets Sights on Nashville Expansion

There’s a capital city out there with a major university, a growing footprint of company headquarters, and a population of almost 2 million. It might sound like Columbus, but we’re talking about a location 380 miles southwest.

Alongside other Ohio-based companies, Donatos has begun its expansion in Nashville and the surrounding areas. Opening our first Nashville location in 2016, COO Tom Pendrey is optimistic for the future as we seek Franchise Partners to help us grow.

For more information about Donatos’ expansion in Nashville, click here or if you’re ready to help Donatos in a market that everyone is talking about, fill out the form below.

Life has Led Franchise Partner Back to her First Love – Donatos Pizza

For many Donatos Pizza brand fans, their first experience was as students at The Ohio State University. For new Franchise Partner, Angela Gordon, her first experience eating Donatos Pizza was when she was a child.

“My favorite food was pizza. So, it’s really no surprise that I would own a Donatos Pizza franchise,” said Gordon.

Her path to pizza was not a straight line, however, as she moved to different cities, helped her dad open his medical practice and surgery center, before moving to Chicago to work as an insurance underwriter. Then, when her daughter moved away to attend college, Gordon went looking for her next challenge. Her Donatos in Murfreesboro, Tennessee is the second location in the state.

“I look forward to having a successful business and a successful future. The most rewarding thing about being a Franchise Partner is developing people—watching my staff accomplish things that they didn’t think they could do. They have become like family to me and, in turn we are part of the bigger Donatos family.”

Gordon’s desire to give back is echoed by other Franchise Partners and indeed Donatos continues to be family-owned and operated. Multi-unit Franchise Partner Brian Crumley talked about mentoring his staff and what it has meant to him over the years.

“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,” said Crumley.

To learn how you could become a Franchise Partner like Angela or Brian, complete the form below, or to read more about Angela Gordon’s story, click here.