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Donatos Brings On Largest Minority-Owned Franchise Partner

Ron Jordan's Jordan Hospitality Group is also a partner with 22 Ventures, cofounded by NBA All-Star Michael Redd.

  • Ron Jordan parlayed his family’s one restaurant into a major black-owned franchise operation with 21 stores in the Indianapolis market.
  • Jordan’s company, Jordan Hospitality Group, also counts 22 Ventures, founded by basketball star and Olympic gold medalist Michael Redd, as a partner.

Related: Is Columbus-style pizza really a thing?

Jordan Hospitality Group, the newest franchise partner for Donatos, will be the chain’s largest traditional franchise partner and the largest minority-owned franchise partner in the chain’s history.

Donatos announced that Jordan Hospitality Group (JHG) has taken over the ownership and daily operation of the 21 restaurants in the Indianapolis market. Ron Jordan, the CEO of Jordan Hospitality Group, learned at an early age the importance of hard work, focus and determination, the company said. Since stepping in and taking over his family’s long-standing small business in 2015, Jordan has transformed ownership of a single QSR restaurant into JHG.

A Columbus, Ohio native who attended Eastern Illinois University, Jordan grew up eating Donatos pizza with his family on Friday nights and at other special occasions.

“We’re on a mission to be one of the exceptional players in experiential dining,” Jordan said.  “But it’s more than just building restaurants.  We’re creating experiences that thrill our guests.  My inspiration to grow to be the best stems from the commitment I made to my grandparents years ago to create generational wealth for my family and future generations of not only Jordans, but for the people our company employs.  It is especially rewarding to have the opportunity to do this through a company … that I have loved since childhood.”

“We are excited to have Ron Jordan and JHG join our family,” said Tom Krouse, CEO of Donatos.  “Not only does JHG bring experienced operational oversight to an already existing team of operators in the Indianapolis market, but they also bring tremendous energy and fresh perspective that will serve the customers better and further grow the market.”

Jordan’s franchising efforts are assisted by 22 Ventures, which is led by former NBA All-Star, Olympic gold medalist, and Ohio State University basketball team captain Michael Redd.  “Black entrepreneurs have long faced systemic barriers to growth, including access to loans and capital, biased community perceptions, and gentrification challenges,” Jordan noted.  “Having Michael Redd as a business partner gets us in front of the right people to scale our business.”

“This new partnership between 22 Ventures and Jordan Hospitality Group is a powerful combination, and we are excited to bring our vision to the Greater Indianapolis market through Donatos,” said Redd, chairman and co-founder of 22 Ventures.  “Both of our teams take a rigorous and evidence-based approach to development, which is why we will deliver consistent restaurant service and memorable experiences.  Together, we will work to uplift black and brown businesses across the state, and we will do that here, starting with the management of the Donatos brand in Indiana.”

According to the International Franchise Association, about 30 percent of franchises are minority-owned, but only about eight percent are franchises are black-owned.  These hurdles have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, as demonstrated by the 41 percent of black-owned businesses that have shuttered since February 2020 as compared to just 17 percent of white-owned businesses.

Founded in 1963 by Jim Grote, Donatos now has 379 locations in 22 states. The company and its franchise partners operate 169 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Florida.  Additionally, Donatos’ products are served in 210 non-traditional locations, including 199 locations with Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, 10 sports and entertainment venues, and one REEF Kitchen.