The restaurant industry has been one of the most affected during COVID-19, but not all concepts are struggling. In fact, some restaurant chains aren’t just open for carryout and delivery—but are opening new locations and renovating others at a record pace. Fast-casual pizza franchise Donatos is one of those chains.

Since April, when the pandemic initially peaked, Donatos has opened seven new restaurants in four states.

  • April 28 – Dayton, Ohio
  • May 19 – Highland Heights, Kentucky
  • June 2 – Jacksonville Beach, Florida
  • June 9 – Evansville, Indiana
  • August 25 – Sarasota, Florida
  • September 1 – Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • September 1 – Winter Park, Florida


“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge businesses in many ways, we’ve been able to do extraordinarily well considering the circumstances,” said Donatos Vice President of Development & Franchising Jeff Baldwin. “In this time of unprecedented uncertainty, normalcy is a big deal. We’re ecstatic about this surge in growth and continued success in attracting new franchise partners, which fuels our mission to promote goodwill through our product and services, principles and people.”

Donatos is scheduled to open at least three more traditional restaurants and over 30 non-traditional locations by the end of the year.

In addition to opening all these new restaurants, 15 of Donatos’ existing restaurants have begun undergoing full dining room renovations which include a new color scheme and a variety of seating options to meet whatever preference a customer may have. Some of Donatos’ franchise partners are also doing exterior and kitchen renovations to their restaurants. So far, nearly half of the restaurant renovations have been completed, with the rest slated to be done by the end of the year.

“Over the years, we have perfected our models, adapted to the evolving environment and never wavered in our commitment to serving high-quality pizza and superior service,” said Baldwin. “Our franchise partners haven’t skipped a beat. They continue to step to the plate and invest where it matters. They know what it takes to elevate their businesses and remain a key competitor in the pizza franchise space.”

Today, Donatos is proudly served in 227 locations across the country, more than one-third (88) of which have been added in the last three years alone. 165 of these nationwide locations are traditional, brick-and-mortar restaurants. Of the non-traditional locations serving Donatos pizza, nearly 50 are Red Robin restaurants and 14 are sports and entertainment venues. An additional 31 Red Robin restaurants are expected to begin serving Donatos’ pizza in the state of Washington by the end of the year.

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