Since its beginning in 1963, Donatos has prided itself on being a business that cares about its people as much as the premium pizza that it serves. To that end, the soon-to-be 60-year-old family company recently announced several leadership promotions and the creation of a pathway for more internal growth for restaurant leadership and training personnel that will all take effect on January 3.
“Our people are our most valuable resource and we are really excited about this announcement of internal promotions and growth opportunities,” says Kevin King, President of Donatos. “This gives our associates a clearer look at the steps they can take to continue to move up in our company. We have such talented people and this is a great way for them to find a career with us that both challenges them and best utilizes their skills.”
Headlining the promotions is the selection of Tony Capuano for the role of Vice President of Franchise Operations. A third-generation member of the Donatos founding family, Capuano has spent the past three years in Ops Development and District Manager roles within the company serving most recently as a District Manager for five company restaurants. Capuano also has 10 years of entrepreneurial experience through his ownership of several local SNAP Fitness gyms.
“Tony has already made an impact in his time at Donatos,” says King. “In his new role, he will have the opportunity to work directly with our franchise partners to help them build their sales and profitability. We are excited for him to be in this role and are confident he will continue our great relationship with our franchise partners.”
The next new leadership position is the creation of the new role of Vice President of Field Training and Ops Excellence that will be filled by Cheryl Bergsman. Bergsman brings over 32 years of Donatos field operations experience to the role and a passion for supporting operations through training and development. Most recently, she has spent the past three years as the Vice President of Company Operations where she led the Columbus company restaurants through the challenges they faced during the pandemic.
“Cheryl’s leadership in our company restaurants the past three years has been incredible,” says King. “She helped guide our associates through unprecedented times. We are really excited for her to be able to put her passion for people and training to great use in this important new role that is essential as our brand continues to grow.”
The third leadership addition is the hiring of Brian Thompson to serve as the Vice President of Company Operations. Thompson is no stranger to Donatos as he has over 30 years of field restaurant experience that began in 1992 when he started his career with Donatos. He has been both a general manager and a district manager in Columbus, and for the past 12 years he has served as the Vice President for Restaurant Operations for Titan Restaurant Group, a Donatos franchise partner, during which he oversaw 40 restaurants across three states.
“Brian is a results-oriented leader with a track record for driving sales, improving profitability, and growing people,” says King. “He possesses a leadership lens from within and outside the Columbus market that can enhance our open-minded culture and inspire even greater innovation.”
One additional promotion is elevating Brie Williams into the role of Manager of People Experience and Culture. Another third-generation member of the Donatos founding family, Williams has quickly established herself as a key part of the People Services team.
“Brie has a proven track record of talent acquisition and associate onboarding success,” adds King. “She has a passion for developing and executing strategies to attract, onboard, engage, and retain talent as well as enhance our ‘Every piece is important’ associate brand.”
Besides these new leadership appointments, additional positions have been created to allow for internal professional development to prepare the next group of operations and training leaders in the company. Two Senior District Manager positions and two Area Coach positions will be filled from within as well as a Field Training Manager position for both franchise and Columbus operations. A Director of Organizational Development will be added to the People Services Department through internal promotion and a Columbus Recruiter will be hired. Additionally, six new associates are being added to the IT team to bring more of the technology expertise in-house to help provide an industry-leading omni-channel guest experience.
“As we head into 2023, we are really excited about the team that we have in place to continue our growth,” said King. “Big things are on the horizon as we continue to fulfill our promise to serve the best pizza and make your day a little better.”