Donatos Pizza

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Donatos Pizzeria, LLC
Private (Family Owned)
Industry Restaurant
Founded 1963
Founder Jim Grote
Headquarters Gahanna, Ohio, U.S.
Key people
Jane Abell (Chairperson)
Tom Krouse (CEO)
Products Pizza, Subs, Salads
Donatos Pizza Home Office
The original pizza restaurant on Thurman Avenue in Columbus is still one of the busiest and most successful locations.

Donatos Pizza is a pizza delivery restaurant chain headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. It has nearly 200 locations in eight states, with the majority of locations in Ohio.[1] Donatos is also served at several venue outlets including Ohio Stadium[2] and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.[3]


In 1963, Ohio State sophomore Jim Grote purchased the original Donatos located on the south side of Columbus, Ohio for $1,300. Grote's business principles included: creating a superior product, hiring great people, and to "treat others the way I would like to be treated". These principles led to the creation of the official brand promise To serve the best pizza and make your day a little better.[4]

In 1999, Donatos was purchased by McDonald's in an attempt to enter the pizza industry. A majority interest in Donatos was repurchased by Jim Grote and daughter Jane Abell in 2003 as McDonald's sought to refocus on its core business.[5] During this period Donatos also had operations in Munich, Germany.[6]

In 2017 Donatos founder Jim Grote led a $1 million seed round in BeeHex, the 3D-food printing company with NASA origins.[7] As of March 2017 Donatos operates in eight states: Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.


Donatos is known for its thin crust pizza "loaded edge to edge" with toppings, particularly its large pepperoni pizza that includes 100+ pepperoni slices. In 2009, Donatos launched a hand-tossed pie-cut crust option.[8]

Take and bake[edit]

In 2004, the company introduced Donatos take and bake pizza in Kroger supermarkets.[9]

Undercover Boss[edit]

In 2013, Donatos was the subject of an episode of the CBS reality television show Undercover Boss. During the episode (Season 5, episode 3, air date October 11, 2013), Jane Grote Abell, the Chairperson of Donatos and daughter of its founder Jim Grote, went undercover posing as a contestant on a reality TV show who is trying to win money to open her own restaurant. During her first assignment at the Donatos store located at Ohio State University (where she had actually attended college during the 1980s), Abell's cover was blown in her first few minutes by the manager of the store who immediately recognized her despite wearing glasses and a brunette wig over her normally blonde hair, though she was able to convince the manager to keep her identity a secret for the purposes of the show.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Donatos Pizza Franchising". www. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  2. ^ "Lucky Horseshoe". Stadium Journey. Archived from the original on 2011-08-08. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  3. ^ "Food Available at the National Air and Space Museum". Archived from the original on 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2010-12-23. 
  4. ^ "About Donatos". Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  5. ^ "Jane Grote Abell". Franklin University Leadership Center. 2003-12-15. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  6. ^ "Donatos Pizzeria Corporation". Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  7. ^ "Donatos founder invests in startup's 3-D pizza printer". Fox News. Retrieved 3 April 2017. 
  8. ^ "Hand Tossed or Edge to Edge?". Greatest City of All. 2003-12-15. Archived from the original on 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  9. ^ "Donatos Pizzeria joins take-and-bake fray with Kroger kiosk". Pizza Marketplace. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  10. ^ Undercover Boss US Season 05 Episode 03 Donatos

External links[edit]