The IFA today named Justin Sherman, owner of Donatos in Jacksonville, Florida, as a 2023 Franchisee of the Year. Sherman was honored at the 63rd IFA Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, for being an outstanding franchise establishment owner-operator.


The Franchisee of the Year Award, sponsored by IFA’s partner Paychex, 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 service to their communities, fostering a strong and vibrant workforce, opening the doors for career growth and entrepreneurship, and supporting their fellow franchisees.


Justin Sherman opened his first Donatos location in 2020 as he followed the desire to run his own business. Growing up eating at the establishment, he knew Donatos was the right brand to partner with. Sherman entered the world of franchising and quickly found that the system provided him with the work-life balance he needed.


“It feels amazing that people have noticed the time and effort I have put into building my business. I believe if you have a product that you genuinely enjoy in your own personal life, and you want to be your own boss, franchising is a wonderful way to combine those passions,” said Sherman. “It’s great to get the recognition this year, but I couldn’t have done it alone. You have to realize it still requires a lot of effort to get things started, but the results have definitely been rewarding.”