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National pizza chain to expand in Charleston area

Hospitality and Tourism
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Donatos, the fast-casual pizza chain, is looking to continue its growth in existing markets through further expansion in Charleston.

The Ohio-based company, which opened its first Charleston-area restaurant in Summerville in 2015, has signed a new deal to add at least three new locations to the area over the next few years, a Donatos news release stated.

The next Donatos location is scheduled to open in early 2023 and will be located in West Ashley, near Ashley River Road and Sam Rittenberg Blvd, according to the release.

“Since first entering the Charleston market, we are proud to have introduced local pizza lovers to the fresh, high-quality ingredients and superior customer service that Donatos is known for,” Jeff Baldwin, vice president of Development & Franchising, in the release. “We’ve received a warm welcome here and now look to further strengthen our presence in greater Charleston with a goal of eventually serving the entire metro area.”

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 release stated. The company was classified “Best in Class” and acquired by McDonald’s Corp. in 1999, at a time when the fast-food giant was extending its reach beyond burgers. A few years later when McDonald’s was looking to get out of the pizza business, Grote and his daughter, Jane Grote Abell, bought back the company in 2003.

Donatos restaurants serve oven-baked wings and sub sandwiches, appetizers and salads in addition to its Edge to Edge pizza, Donatos’ trademark that refers to toppings that go to the edge of the pizza, the release stated. Along with dine-in experience, Donatos also offers pick up, delivery and catering services.

This Charleston expansion comes during a time when Donatos continues to grow its national footprint and increase its presence in existing markets, the release stated. Today, Donatos is served in over 429 locations across 27 states, including 171 traditional Donatos restaurants.

Additionally, Donatos continues to expand through its strategic partnership with Red Robin, involving a scaled-down menu alongside Red Robin’s signature burgers, the release stated. Today, the partnership includes 248 Red Robin locations with plans to scale to additional markets across the U.S. in 2022 and beyond.

Reach Jason at 864-568-7570.

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