Donatos Expands to Texas, As 4 Franchise Groups Bring Its ‘Edge-to-Edge’ Pizzas to Dallas‑Fort Worth

Serving its signature "edge-to-edge" pies since launching in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963, Donatos Pizza is entering the Texas market for the first time. Four different franchise groups throughout Dallas-Fort Worth plan to initially open "up to 20" new Donatos Pizza restaurants, the company said.

There are pizza crust lovers, and there are people (like this writer) who leave piles of bone-like, teeth-marked crusts scattered on their plates. For us North Texas non-crusters, a lifelong dream will soon come true: Donatos, a premium pizza franchise founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963, is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth with—get this—”edge to edge” pizzas.

That’s right, nothing but pizza from edge to edge, with just a minimal hint of crust on the outer perimeter. 

Four different franchise groups “strategically positioned” throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth region plan to initially open “up to 20” new Donatos Pizza restaurants, the company announced Thursday, bringing the brand’s pizzas, subs, salads, and wings to Texans for the first time.

“Bringing Donatos to Dallas-Fort Worth is a historic milestone for us as we begin this exciting journey to expand the brand into Texas,” Donatos Pizza President Kevin King said in a statement. “We’re looking to have yet another successful year in 2024, and this growth into Texas is just the beginning. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the DFW community through our promise to serve the best pizza and make your day a little better.”

“Numerous territories” across Texas are still available for potential franchise partners, the company said. And citing DFW’s “growing population and extensive size,” Donatos says there is” opportunity for over 50 locations in the area.”

Served in 466 locations across 29 states

Currently, Donatos Pizza is served in 466 locations across 29 states, including 179 traditional Donatos restaurants.  (The “nontraditional” locations include 274 with Red Robin, nine sports and entertainment venues, and four REEF Kitchens.) The company says it continues to expand its national footprint and increase its presence in existing markets.

“Our expansion is not just about introducing a new premium pizza,” Jeff Baldwin, VP of franchise development at Donatos, said in a statement. “It’s about creating a lasting connection with the community and giving back. With four dedicated franchise groups leading the way, and room for growth, we look forward to sharing Donatos Pizza with the Lone Star State.”

First restaurant purchased for $1,300

Donatos Founder Jim Grote acquired his first Donatos location in 1963 in South Columbus, Ohio, for $1,300, according to a Wikipedia entry. The company opened its first franchise location in 1991, and in 1999, Donatos was acquired by McDonald’s during a brand exploration of the pizza business. Four years later, Grote and his daughter Jane Grote Abellin repurchased a majority interest in the company. That original $1,300 location? It’s still one of the brand’s “busiest and most successful locations,” according to Wikipedia.

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