Prioritizing Consistent Products and Experiences with Donatos Pizza’s Tom Krouse


On today’s episode of The QSR Experience Show, Bobby speaks with Tom Krouse, CEO of Donatos Pizza, a family-owned pizza company with more than 150 locations.

They discuss Tom’s forty-year career in restaurants, including his time overseeing brand marketing for Wendy’s, and how he became the CEO of Donatos. They also discuss Donatos’s philosophy about being “more than the pizza,” the systems they use to create consistent experiences and products, how they’re introducing technologies like AI and automation, and advice for business owners looking to franchise.

Topics discussed:

  • Tom’s over forty-year career in the restaurant business, including his work on Wendy’s brand marketing, and how he joined Donatos, later to become the CEO.
  • Lessons learned from marketing with Wendy’s, including the importance of finding a unique position, being consistent, and focusing on the message of quality.
  • How Donatos was founded and grew, how it changed during the time it was owned by McDonald’s, and how Donatos tightened its positioning and became more franchise-focused after buying it back.
  • How customer expectations have evolved around getting high-quality food when and where they want it, and how to cater to those demands.
  • How to keep experiences consistent across locations, and the systems Donatos uses to make pizzas the same way each time.
  • How Donatos is leveraging technology to better the customer experience, including generative AI and automation.
  • Advice for those looking to expand their business through franchising.