Donatos is kicking off 2022 with continued expansion throughout Southwest Florida for its widening fan base. The pizza chain’s latest push to expand in the state includes a 3-store deal in Fort Myers with Herwig Enterprises, the first location slated to open later in 2022.
“We continue to see a growing fan base in Southwest Florida which is exciting because it has allowed us to continue our growth and meet the demands of many loyal customers,” says Jeff Baldwin, Vice President of Development & Franchising for Donatos. “We know there is no pizza in Florida like the abundantly Edge to Edge topped pizzas of Donatos, and we can’t wait for more people to try us.”
The brand is looking to continue to grow in communities throughout Tampa Bay including Sarasota and Bradenton. Donatos is looking to open up to five locations from Port Charlotte to Cape Coral and 25+ locations in Tampa and St. Petersburg. The brand already has three locations open in Sarasota with more on the way.
“Our continued development throughout Florida over the past year has stirred interest among people looking for an opportunity to partner with a franchise committed to great food and community involvement,” says Baldwin. “We couldn’t be happier to welcome new partners to the Donatos family and bring our commitment to quality, freshness and value to more Florida markets.”
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 fast-food giant was extending its reach to include other restaurant brands. A few years later, McDonald’s board of directors urged executives to focus on the core burger business. This strategic change provided an opportunity for Grote and his daughter, Jane Grote Abell, to buy back the company in 2003.
For those with experience looking to bring a new concept to Florida, consider a proven concept offering pizza like no other in the state. Including a franchise fee of $30,000, the initial investment to own and operate a Donatos restaurant ranges from $360,360 to $697,400. The average store is 1,700-2,200 square feet and employs roughly 30 primarily part-time people. The average volume nationwide, per store, exceeds $1.284 million.
The Florida expansion announcement comes at a time when Donatos continues to expand its national footprint. Today, Donatos is served in over 377 locations across 22 states, including 170 traditional Donatos restaurants, and its products are proudly served in 10 sports and entertainment venues and one REEF Kitchen. Additionally, Donatos continues to expand through its strategic partnership with Red Robin with a scaled-down menu alongside Red Robin’s signature burgers. Today, the partnership includes 197 Red Robin locations with plans to scale to additional markets across the US in 2022 and beyond.