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Franchise 500 2023
2024 Franchise 500 Rank
#329 Ranked #171 last year
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Initial investment
$457K - $990K
Units as of 2023
175 Increase 8.0% over 3 years

Looking to grab a slice of a hot restaurant franchise opportunity? Donatos might be your chance!

Founded in 1963, Donatos is a pizza maker that has stood the test of time and strives to create consistently delicious pizza. There are several company-owned restaurants across the United States, as well as over 100 franchises. Since beginning to franchise in 1991, Donatos has developed a solid base of loyal customers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Why You May Want to Start a Donatos Franchise

Donatos prides itself on efficient kitchen layouts created in order to maximize sales. As you are planning your restaurant, you can choose add-on options like patios and drive-through windows to streamline your customer service. In addition, Donatos has a great app that makes placing orders as simple as possible. This creates a more enjoyable, faster experience for your clients.

The Donatos menu is continuously innovated in order to meet clients' trends and tastes, encouraging them to come back for more. You will also receive ongoing training and support from the franchise, providing you with a winning recipe and fresh ingredients for your pizza.

You can serve many clients within the Donatos' customer reach, whether they prefer to dine-in, pick-up, or have their pizza delivered to them. The drive-up window and catering during events are options for customers, as well. 

What Might Make Donatos Franchise a Good Choice?

Donatos values franchisees who are invested in their communities. They look for franchisees with strong management skills and a passion for pizza and providing quality service. If you fall in this category, Donatos might be a place for you to set up shop. 

To make sure you meet the financial requirements for opening a Donatos franchise, be sure to have a secured net worth and liquid capital on hand. Also, be prepared to make an initial investment that will include a franchise fee and additional startup costs. You should be willing to open multiple restaurant locations from the start as a part of your franchise.

Included in the franchise fee is access to the Donatos systems, technology, operational support, building plans, and your own training. The ongoing fees you will pay are a royalty fee, advertising fee, and a National Marketing Fund contribution, which will usually come out of a small percentage of your net sales. 

How Do You Open a Donatos Franchise?

During the process, you will have the opportunity to speak to a Donatos Franchise Development team member and get information to guide you in your business decisions. You will likely attend a program review webinar to brief you on the Donatos franchise opportunity, company culture, market, and finances. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about franchise availability in your area, the number of locations you want to open, and the experiences of other franchisees.

The company will invite you to a discovery day at Donatos' headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. This will let you meet the operations team and get hands-on experience at a local Donatos restaurant. If you qualify, you can sign a franchise development agreement and pay the franchise fee. 

After this, voilà! You are an official Donatos franchisee! The only thing you'll have left to do is to plan your grand opening.

Find Your Perfect Franchise

Company Overview

About Donatos

Industry Food
Related Categories Pizza, Sandwiches
Founded 1963
Parent Company Donatos Pizzeria LLC
Leadership Tom Krouse, CEO
Corporate Address 935 Taylor Station Rd.
Columbus, OH 43230
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest

Business Overview

Franchising Since 1991 (33 years)
# of employees at HQ 85
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchises in the following US states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming

# of Units 175 (as of 2023)

Information for Franchisees

Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Donatos franchise.

Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees

Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.

Initial Franchise Fee Information Circle
Initial Investment Information Circle
$457,244 - $989,654
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
Cash Requirement Information Circle
Royalty Fee Information Circle
Ad Royalty Fee Information Circle
to 4%
Term of Agreement Information Circle
10 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
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Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing Donatos has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll

Training & Support Offered

Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.

On-The-Job Training 302 hours
Classroom Training 4 hours
Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-ops
Meetings & Conventions
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
National Media
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed? No
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit? Information Circle
Can this franchise be run part time? Information Circle
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
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Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where Donatos landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

Curious to know where Donatos ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022