Travis Hibbert of Donatos Pizza in Knoxville Awarded Franchisee of the Year by the International Franchise Association
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Travis Hibbert of Donatos Pizza in Knoxville Awarded Franchisee of the Year by the International Franchise Association

February 29, 2024 // // PHOENIX - The International Franchise Association (IFA) today named Travis Hibbert, owner of Donatos Pizza in Knoxville, TN, as a 2023 Franchisee of the Year. Hibbert was honored at the 64th IFA Annual Convention in Phoenix, Ariz., for being an outstanding franchise establishment owner-operator.

“Franchisees of the Year exemplify what franchising is all about – providing opportunity, serving others, and fulfilling the American Dream,” said Matthew Haller, President and CEO of the International Franchise Association. “We are proud to recognize Travis Hibbert with the highest honor IFA awards to individual franchisees, and I have no doubt his work is changing lives and making a lasting community impact.”

The Franchisee of the Year Award recognizes leading franchise owners from IFA member brands whose outstanding performance and contributions help protect, enhance, and promote the franchise business model. Nominated by their parent company, individuals are selected for their involvement in their communities, embodying the entrepreneurial spirit, fostering a strong and healthy culture with their workforce, and assisting their fellow franchisees when called upon.

Travis Hibbert and his wife, Kirsten, have been awarded this esteemed honor for their exceptional contributions to the Donatos Pizza brand. Since opening their first franchise location in Knoxville, TN in August 2021, the Hibberts have displayed a remarkable commitment to both the product and the culture of Donatos Pizza. The Hibberts quickly expanded, opening their second location by June 2023, showcasing exceptional sales performance from the outset. This launch saw an outstanding opening week in sales and has consistently outperformed the franchise average.

Travis and Kirsten’s dedication to maintaining high standards and fostering a supportive team culture has been instrumental in their success. They actively engage with their staff and customers, embodying Donatos Pizza’s mission of promoting goodwill through product and service, principles, and people. By prioritizing individual development and personalized training, they have cultivated a workforce that consistently delivers excellent customer service, reflected in their impressive sales growth and high customer satisfaction ratings.

“Travis and Kirsten Hibbert exemplify what it means to be Donatos franchise partners,” said Kevin King, President of Donatos Pizza. “Their unwavering commitment to our brand’s values, exceptional leadership, and dedication to serving their community make them truly deserving of the Franchisee of the Year award. We’re proud to honor their outstanding achievements, and we’re grateful for the positive impact they’ve made on our brand and the Knoxville community.”

The Hibberts’ impact extends beyond the walls of their stores, as they have become integral members of the Knoxville community. Through their involvement in local schools, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, as well as participation in community events like blood drives and fundraisers, they have demonstrated a commitment to giving back. Travis and Kirsten Hibbert stand as shining examples of franchise partners who not only excel in business, but also enrich the lives of those around them through their dedication, integrity, and service-oriented approach.

There are over 800,000 franchised businesses across the U.S., providing over 8.7 million direct jobs and generating over $850 billion in economic output. According to Oxford Economics, franchising on average provides higher wages and better benefits than non-franchised businesses, as well as greater entrepreneurial opportunities to minorities, women, veterans, and other underrepresented communities

About the International Franchise Association

Celebrating over 60 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association (IFA) is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.

About Donatos Pizza

Donatos Pizza features the Edge to Edge® pizza, created by Jim Grote, who founded Donatos Pizza in 1963. With 463 locations in 29 states, Donatos Pizza and its franchise partners operate 178 traditional restaurants in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Florida and Oklahoma. Donatos Pizza’s products are also proudly served in 285 non-traditional locations (274 locations with Red Robin, nine sports and entertainment venues, and two REEF Kitchens). For more information, visit

SOURCE Donatos Pizza


Media Contact:

Betty Anne Richardson
(847) 945-1300 ext. 245


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