Donatos Pizza is set to take a bigger slice out of the Virginia marketplace. The Ohio-based fast-casual pizza chain, which already has restaurants open and operating in Vienna and Newport News, has signed an agreement for the development of three restaurants in Virginia Beach over the next few years.
The agreement has been signed with franchise industry veterans Ricky Singh and Jay Patel, who together already own and operate three Tropical Smoothie Café franchises, one in Norfolk and the others in Northern Virginia. Patel is also a partner in three Subway franchises in Virginia Beach.
The duo hopes to open their first Donatos store in the Hilltop area by the end of the year.
“We wanted to bring Donatos to Virginia Beach because it is a great city with an amazing dining scene, a strong culture and discerning customers,” says Patel. “Pizza is an exciting business, and Virginia Beach is an exciting place. I have no doubt Donatos’ premium quality products and exceptional service will be met with warm reception among the local community.”
Donatos was founded in 1963 when Ohio State sophomore Jim Grote bought a small pizza shop in Columbus, Ohio from a young seminarian for $1,300. The company was classified “Best in Class” and acquired by McDonald’s Corporation in 1999, at a time when the burger giant was buying small concepts. McDonald’s sold the chain back to Grote and his daughter, Jane Abell, in 2003.
The restaurant serves wings, sub sandwiches, appetizers and salads in addition to its Edge-to-Edge® pizza, Donatos’ trademark that refers to toppings that go right to the edge of the pizza. Along with dine-in experience, Donatos also offers delivery and catering services, along with 26 toppings for customizable and signature pizzas.
“The state of Virginia has been very good to us. Two of our fastest growing stores are in Virginia," said Jeff Baldwin, Vice President of Development & Franchising for Donatos. “Virginia Beach is a dynamic community strengthened by a diverse mix of industry, attractions, and people. It’s a great city. It has a great vibe.”
The Donatos franchise fee is $30,000, and the initial investment to own a franchise ranges from $361,360 and $697,400. The average annual volume per location exceeds $1 million. Stores typically average 2,000-2,500 square feet, and roughly 30 primarily part-time employees are hired to staff a singular location.