Commitment to service and growth at top of strategic plan

COLUMBUS, Ohio (April 11, 2007) – Donatos Pizza announces today that Jane Grote Abell will assume the role of president, previously held by her father, Jim Grote, who founded the company in 1963.  Abell will also maintain the responsibilities of her previous role as Chief Operating Officer (COO). Grote will continue as the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman, focusing on Donatos’ products and industry innovation.

Having worked for Donatos Pizza since age 11, Abell has served in various positions within the company, beginning as an associate, driver and restaurant manager. Abell has served on the operations side of the business, holding positions which included COO and Chief People Officer as well as overseeing real estate and franchising for the company.  In these leadership positions, she helped steer the company’s business strategy, most notably in 2003 as a major catalyst behind the decision to buy back the company from McDonald’s, after they purchased the brand in 1999.

“Jane’s belief in and commitment to our company and our mission is incredible,” said Jim Grote. “She is a true leader for Donatos. For several years now I’ve seen her develop the new vision of the company and provide direction for Donatos’ future.  As president, her influence will affect the company for years to come.”  

Abell now leads an experienced team of restaurant professionals including the following company officers:  Doug Kourie, chief financial officer; Sandee Pritchard, chief people officer; Bob Bauer, vice president of purchasing, real estate & construction; and Kris Miotke, vice president of marketing.  In addition, Tom Krouse, previously chief concept officer, has been promoted to chief concept and strategy officer and has assumed the additional responsibility for franchise growth and business development. 

“Since the buy-back our focus has been on product quality and profitability at the store level,” said Abell. “The last couple of years have been setting the stage for our future – our new concept store and a strong franchise growth plan. Our new concept store design reflects a contemporary, premium expression of Donatos and can be built very economically. Our goal is to continue to grow, but we don’t ever want to lose sight of what we do best – making great pizza and providing excellent customer service.”

“When I founded Donatos Pizza in 1963, my goal was to make the best pizza and to treat others the way I wanted to be treated,” said Jim Grote.  “We found nice people to work in the stores and built a family of associates around basic principles of treating people well.  Many of these people are still with us today.  I wanted a pizza place that I could build with my family based on those principles. Looking back, we built that and so much more.”

About Donatos Pizza
Donatos Pizza, founded in 1963 by Jim Grote, is family-owned and operated, and headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The creator of Edge-to-Edge® pizza, Donatos Pizza is recognized as the gold standard in pizza, using only the freshest ingredients, and highest quality product.  Donatos operates 135 company-owned stores and 40 franchised stores in six states. For more information on Donatos Pizza, visit

Archives, Pizza News