The Donatos Company Finding the New Pizza


The case is all about the introduction of low-carbohydrate pizza. The case also highlights how the company took advantage of the new products’ ongoing research. Tom Krouse’s job was to evaluate whether a low-carb diet was a trend or a short-lived fad, as he was the company’s chief executive officer. The officer also required a report on client demand for low-carbohydrate pizza. Donato’s employed a research strategy to see if low-carbohydrate diets were a movement in healthy lifestyle habits or merely a trend. According to Adigüzel and Donato (2021), Health Focus Trend reported in 2003 that 26% of eaters were “carb aware.” Tom Krouse, the proprietor of Donato’s, was also on the Atkins diet. This was the study that proved that low-carbohydrate diets were not merely a trend. A sample of the no-carb pizza was then produced and tested by Donato’s employees. There is a need to analyze Donato’s research process to understand the best approaches and the associated tradeoffs.


A random sampling included input from both inside and outside the company. Afterward, Donato’s clients were asked about the product’s uniqueness and fit with the brand after viewing photographs of the items. In addition, they were asked about the product’s pricing and the likelihood that they would buy it if it were available. As part of this investigation, Donato’s found out that they would need to do in-restaurant tests. The participants completed self-administered surveys. Surveys were also carried out on the pizzas that were delivered to customers’ homes, and the findings were positive.

The next phase was to produce visual images of food products for use in advertisements. They used images of actual food samples as a means of grabbing the attention of potential customers. For the final survey, buyers were asked for their thoughts on the product’s development and brand fit (Donato et al., 2021). Lastly, Donatos not only created a unique product that caught the attention of customers, but they also affirmed Donato’s restaurant standards and the quality of their products.


Wassup Meetings as an Exploratory Methodology

The Wassup meeting of the Donatos was a regular occurrence, with every one of the company’s employees contributing their own thoughts and cultural insights. New goods would be created based on the food ideas and diet plans that were provided. Social and cultural concerns were also discussed. A critical part of Donato’s Wassup meetings was gathering meaningful market data from employees and synthesizing it to understand better the demands of the public at large (Donato et al., 2021). Also helpful in adapting research questions for a new product development project is this meeting’s feedback on how to better understand cultural preferences and opinions in different countries.

Donatos conducted the Wassup meetings as investigative measures in order to recognize public interests. To explore their understanding of potential issues and possible solutions, Donato’s used the Wassup sessions (Adigüzel & Donato, 2021). Workers from all backgrounds could share their knowledge at these gatherings, which helped the company build a product that the general public would like. They were essential in discovering that low-carbohydrate diets were not simply a short-lived phenomenon but a trend in American eating habits. At the Wassup sessions, researchers were able to plan out their study’s research strategy. It was decided that the survey results would be used as a basis for evaluating various measuring scales.


Recommended research questions

  1. Could we introduce a new pizza concept to satisfy the no-carb diet market?
  2. Should the pizza be crest free??
  3. If we do introduce a crest-free pizza, what do we need to change to make it taste better?
  4. What type of recipe should be used for the crust? A Soy Crisp or introduce a new protein alternative crust?

The Test Market Donato’s Used; Advantages and Disadvantages

Customers’ responses to the product at two stores in one market were utilized as the test market, which raises some doubts about the validity of the results. According to Choi and Kim (2018), several cities were employed as test markets, although this was rarely done because researchers discovered that people’s eating habits varied widely depending on where they resided. Only two retail locations were used for the trial, which lasted a few days. Promotions for a variety of new food items were put in place to draw consumers to the restaurant. Donato’s did not promote this No dough pizza in this manner. Customers who were on a low-carb diet were unable to be sampled because they were not included in the sample size (Choi & Kim, 2018). They did not conduct a survey to determine if people were coming to the restaurant to buy the No dough pizza as the test market went on.

New products should be prepared in a controlled environment to provide the best results. Furthermore, most test markets utilize real market situations to ensure reliable results. Donato et al. (2021) discovered that employees aged 16 and 17 prepared the no-dough pizza for the test market. One of the advantages was that clients who frequently visited the restaurant could serve as testers for in-restaurant testing, resulting in lower research expenditures. They also had the advantage of being able to acquire data at a rapid pace. Additionally, the testing could be carried out on-site at the restaurant, requiring less labor (Donato et al., 2021). It was possible that walk-in clients could not represent the low-carb pizza diet’s ideal customer base, which was a disadvantage.

In addition, Donato performed a telephone survey as a method of market testing. One of the benefits of this research was that they were able to get responses from a wide range of clients (Zhang et al., 2017). Donato’s was also able to reach out to clients who were previously unavailable. The clients were permitted to stay private so that they could be honest and give unfavorable feedback regarding the flavor of the product (Zhang et al., 2017). It had a disadvantage because some clients would be unwilling to participate in a survey over the phone. Furthermore, they did not give their clients any kind of discount or incentive to participate in this research.

Donato’s has also employed qualitative and quantitative survey strategies. In order to get a better understanding of what consumers want and need, both of these methods were applied. In the qualitative inquiry method, the emphasis was on emotions, ideas, and views about the product (Hyun & Perdue, 2017). Primary research methods were utilized to establish the product’s brand fit and customer appeal, as well as its ideal beginning price point, in the case of the No dough pizza. People who participated in the Qualitative research model avoided eating the crust of pizza.


  • For in-restaurant testing, quantitative and Likert scales are helpful because they enable one to score a product’s likes and dislikes. As in Donato’s instance, they employed this scale to gauge customer preferences by comparing their pizzas to those of other restaurants’ patrons. Pai et al. (2016) state that a survey with a rating system is the best way to get reliable findings. A numerical scale or Likert scale would be the most helpful measurement system for the in-restaurant tests since a seven to nine-point scale can be used. Using this scale, participants can express their thoughts and feelings about the products.
  • The most positive responses would be measured on one side of the Likert scale, while the most negative reactions would be calculated on the other side. A neutral point would be at the middle of the scale. Depending on the answers, the questions could range from strongly agreeing to strongly disagreeing (Pai et al., 2016). Using this scale has the benefit simple administration and efficient data management. According to Pai et al. (2016), customers’ likelihood of purchasing a product can be simply determined using the Likert scale. As a result, this strategy should have worked well in this situation.


A good proportion of people are influenced by the eating approaches. The key reason for Donatos to initiate a research-based product development process was to determine if the carbohydrate craze was no trend. At the start of the process, all of the efforts looked to produce the product concept, then the employee taste-testing phase. However, through methodologies and test market strategies, the Donatos were able to attain results and improve restaurant performance.


Adıgüzel, F., & Donato, C. (2021). Proud to be sustainable: Upcycled versus recycled luxury products. Journal of Business Research, 130(1-740), 137-146. Web.

Choi, J., & Kim, Y. (2018). Anomalies and market (dis)integration. Journal of Monetary Economics, 100, 16-34. Web.

Donato, C., Barone, A., & Romani, S. (2021). The satiating power of sustainability: The effect of package sustainability on perceived satiation of healthy food. British Food Journal, 123(13), 162-177.

Hyun, S., & Perdue, R. (2017). Understanding the dimensions of customer relationships in the hotel and restaurant industries. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 64, 73-84.

Pai, F., Yeh, T., & Tang, C. (2016). Classifying restaurant service quality attributes by using Kano model and IPA approach. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 29(3-4), 301-328. Web.

Zhang, X., Kuchinke, L., Woud, M., Velten, J., & Margraf, J. (2017). Survey method matters: Online/offline questionnaires and face-to-face or telephone interviews differ. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 172-180. Web.

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