Ohio-based Donatos Pizza expects to open three new traditional locations in Maryland as part of its strategic growth plan for the DMV (Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia) region, the company announced recently.

We say “traditional locations” because Donatos has a penchant for reaching customers in rather unlikely places, including burger restaurants—namely locations of the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers chain.

The brand, founded by Jim Grote in 1963 and featured on PMQ’s March 2023 cover, expects to open the new traditional stores in Columbia, Laurel and Glen Burnie, Maryland, with the first location scheduled to open next year.

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Donatos aims to grow up to 50 traditional and non-traditional locations within the Maryland and Virginia region. Through its unique strategic partnership with Red Robin, Donatos already has a presence in 20 Red Robin locations in that area. The new stores, however, will be standalone operations, the pizza franchise’s first in Maryland.

According to Macrotrends, the DMV’s population has increased to 5.45 million people, making it the perfect area for future growth and development, in Donatos’ estimation.

“We are thrilled to embark on this incredible new chapter of growth and bring Donatos Pizza to even more communities throughout Maryland,” said Donatos President Kevin King. “Our partnership with Red Robin has proven to be massively successful, allowing us to introduce our unique Edge to Edge pizzas to more customers who appreciate our commitment to quality and flavor. Having witnessed the enthusiastic reception of Donatos Pizza in local Red Robin locations across Maryland, we’re confident that the state is primed for our brand to become a cherished staple within the community.”

After more than 60 years in business, Donatos, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, remains one of the most innovative pizza chains in the country. It has been developing its own proprietary pizza vending machine and automated pizza saucer. The family-owned company entered into its one-of-a-kind partnership with Red Robin in 2018, nesting its pizza shops within the burger company’s restaurant locationss.

“It’s been a success for us and for them,” Jane Grote Abell, Donatos’ executive chairwoman, told PMQ last year. “I think growth through venues like that is the future, although we still are going to do traditional stores.”

Altogether, Donatos has 471 locations in 28 states, including 177 traditional stores and 294 non-traditional locations, such as Red Robin. Along with the DMV region, the company has plans for growth in Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and other states.“With the support of our loyal fans and dedicated franchise partners, Donatos Pizza has the potential to expand in Maryland with over 50 locations offering our premium pizza,” said Jeff Baldwin, Donatos’ vice president of franchise development. “We are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we continue our development efforts in Maryland and remain committed to delivering exceptional pizza and service nationwide.”

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