• Donatos Pizzeria shutters 23 stores in Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Four years after opening its first metro Atlanta store, poor sales forced Columbus, Ohio-based Donatos Pizzeria Corporation to close all 23 of its stores there on Nov. 19. The units were company owned.

"We had to make the difficult business decision to close out of the Atlanta market," Tom Krouse, Donatos' senior vice president, told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. "The performance of our stores was not reaching expectations."

Outside of its Atlanta stores, Donatos has enjoyed positive same-store sales at outlets elsewhere in the U.S. The chain still has 180 stores in seven states and opened its first international unit in Germany this month.

"Atlanta is a great market, and we hope to come back," Krouse said. "Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward."

The chain, which was founded by Jim Grote in 1963, was bought by McDonald's Corp. in 1999.

Krouse said Donatos will work to relocate managers to other Donatos out of state. It also will hold a job fair on Nov. 20 to find positions for other employees at McDonald's stores or at stores owned by McDonald's Boston Market subsidiary.

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