Donatos Pizza is planning to invest heavily in the Raleigh, N.C., market in the next several years.
With one location open and operating since 2013, the Ohio-based fast-casual pizza chain’s plans call for five additional restaurant openings over the next few years, with long-term plans to build out even further.
Company executives are eyeing opportunities in downtown Raleigh and surrounding areas North Hills, Oakland and Durham, among others. “Raleigh is a mature market of almost 3 million people — people who, we are confident, love good food and excellent service,” says Jeff Baldwin, vice president of development and franchising.
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 Grote Abell, in 2003.
Donatos has more than 160 restaurants in 9 states, and its products are served in more than 15 entertainment and sports venues.