Donatos Takes Franchisee Recruitment on the Road

""According to Nation’s Restaurant News, “Donatos Pizza used to recruit partners through the typical franchising method of bringing potential operators to its Columbus, Ohio, headquarters for a “discovery day” and discussing the 175-unit chain’s business model.”

“Four years ago, though, as Donatos reignited its franchise push, company executives recognized that they and franchisee candidates were not getting to know one another well enough prior to the office visit. ‘So we flipped the process on its end,’ said Jamie Davis, executive director of business development.”

“The refinements made to Donatos recruiting system have evolved into its Mutual Discovery Process, in which brand executives take six to seven months to establish a relationship with potential partners for franchise deals involving several dozen units in a given territory. Chain officials now make several visits to the candidate’s market during that time to learn about the operator and the territory, so that when they reconvene at the discovery day, it’s to close the deal rather than start the interview process. ‘It’s been effective in terms of attracting sophisticated multiunit, multiconcept folks,’ Davis said. ‘They appreciate the consultative approach, and it ends up for each of us with a better deal at the end.’ Last month, the chain launched www.DonatosPizzaFranchise.com to support the Mutual Discovery Process, which led to three market-level deals in 2010 and will guide Donatos expansion goals in the Southeast. Davis spoke to Nation’s Restaurant News about the benefits of taking the time necessary to grow the franchise system deliberately.”