Donatos has seen unprecedented growth the past two years as the family-owned company has grown sales to record levels and doubled its reach all while in the midst of challenging times.
To help lead its continued growth, Donatos has announced that Kevin King will be rejoining the company in the role of president beginning on January 4. Donatos CEO Tom Krouse, who has also served as President since October of 2010, is excited to be welcoming King back to the Donatos family that he was part of from 1990 through 2003.
“Kevin brings a keen awareness of what creates success for franchise partners and combines that with a deep understanding of the Donatos brand and family,” says Krouse. “We are fortunate to have him returning home to help lead us into our exciting future.”
King began his career in operations at Domino’s Pizza after graduating from Miami University. He served first in store operations, then multi-unit supervision, and finally in international operations in Australia. He then joined Donatos in 1990 to start the Franchising department and served as the Vice President of Development until 2003.
After leaving Donatos in 2003, King went on to hold positions at JP Morgan Chase as a regional Vice President and Papa Murphy’s as both the Senior Vice President of Operations and the Chief Development Officer. He led the strategic and tactical efforts for Papa Murphy’s expansion into the world’s largest take and bake chain. Most recently, he has served as the Chief Development Officer at Smoothie King, the highly successful and fast-growing smoothie company. Over his career, King has been part of building nearly 1,500 restaurants across the United States and around the world.
“Rejoining Donatos for me is so exciting,” adds King, who grew up in Columbus. “To be back with this powerful brand at this important time to continue its growth and to give more than it receives is a dream come true.”
“We are thrilled to have Kevin rejoining our family,” says Jane Grote Abell, the Executive Chairwoman of the Board and Chief Purpose Officer at Donatos. “He is a perfect culture fit and we are happy he is coming back home. Combining his level of expertise and leadership with the strategic vision of Tom Krouse as our CEO, we have set the stage for a very bright future.”
Since the onset of the pandemic, Donatos has opened 12 new traditional restaurants, including five in the Florida market where there were previously none. New franchise partners have signed on with more development plans for 2022 as for the first time in the company’s history franchising possibilities exist all across the country. Not to be outdone, existing franchise partners are also adding new locations. Additionally, the brand has undertaken a massive remodeling initiative as both company and franchise-owned restaurants maximized the time when inside dining was closed to refresh their look and better serve their customers moving forward.
During the same time, the Donatos partnership with Red Robin has grown from 45 locations in four states to now 197 locations in 13 different states with another 200 locations expected to be added to the partnership in 2022. The brand also opened its first location with REEF Kitchens in Nashville with plans for more to follow in other cities around the country.
“Our ability to adapt to rapid industry changes while continuing to provide the quality, consistent product we are known for has led to our success the past two years,” says Krouse. “The hard work of our associates starting at the store level has been tremendous as we’ve had two-year sales growth of 22.2 percent in a time when so many businesses have been struggling.”
As 2021 draws to a close, the future is very bright as Donatos is poised to continue its growth in the new year. The continued expansion of its partnerships with both Red Robin and REEF Kitchens combined with new traditional locations being opened by franchise partners will help the family-owned brand top the 500-location mark in 2022.