Here's how much it really costs to open a Donatos franchise

Started in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963, Donatos Pizza is known for its pizzas with edge-to-edge toppings and the motto, "Every piece is important." The company was once acquired by McDonald's in 1999, but it was purchased back by the original owners in 2003 (via Donatos). Donatos recently began redesigning its stores and looking to expand throughout the country. Donatos' efforts paid off with a new franchise expansion in Florida, according to QSR.

Donatos currently has locations in 10 states and uses site analysis and intelligence tools to find ideal franchise locations (via Donatos). The extra effort may be why PMQ Pizza Magazine reports that the chain averages more than $1 million in net sales per unit per year. Do you love people and pizza? Do you currently have a net worth of $1 million, liquid capital of $200,000, and a readiness to commit to at least three Donatos locations? Great, let's keep going.

Donatos franchise fees

Coming in at Number 181 on the Annual Franchise 500 from Entrepreneur, Donatos has an initial franchise fee of $30,000 and an ongoing royalty fee of five percent. Your total investment to get started will range from $386,500 to $698,900, with four hours of classroom time, and 454 hours of on-the-job training required. It's a lot, but Donatos does offer support to new franchisees via its relationships with third-party vendors.

Donato's recently struck a sweet licensing deal with Red Robin to have its pizza served inside 100 Red Robin restaurants in 2020 and another 150 in both 2021 and 2022, but the agreement was put on hold in early 2020, according to FSR. Red Robin was making cuts to nonessential spending, and Donatos was one of the cuts. One thing that has not been cut are Donatos new cauliflower crusts with plant-based sausage, a unique addition to any chain pizzeria menu (via Pizza Marketplace).