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September 11, 2020 | Nancy Lune | Original Article

CEO Tom Krouse talks about the brand’s expansion out West and how its gained ground on fast-casual players during the pandemic

A Red Robin Gourmet Burgers with Donatos on the menu typically outperform other restaurants, recording higher sales.

That’s good news for Red Robin, whose turnaround plan called for adding Donatos’ iconic edge-to-edge topping pizzas at up to 425 restaurants by 2022.

The partnership started off with a bang in early January but briefly paused during the pandemic. Now, Red Robin will soon be adding Donatos to 31 restaurants in Seattle and Tacoma, Wash. That would bring the total to about 80 Red Robin restaurants by the end of October.

But what does Donatos, which sports about 165 traditional locations, get from this new partnership?

Tom Krouse, chief executive of Donatos, tells the Extra Serving podcast exactly what the partnership is doing for the Columbus, Ohio-based chain.

And, his answer might surprise you.

“The Red Robin experience taught us that we can operate and produce a tremendous amount of product in a very small space,” Krouse said.

Does that mean a ghost kitchen operation is in their future?

Tune in to our podcast to find out. Krouse will talk about the company’s strategic partnership with Red Robin, as well as the brand’s challenges with hiring delivery drivers, gains made in the pizza space, and new growth – both virtual and brick and mortar.

Listen to our Podcast.