The DT Group, Inc. was established by Donnell and Deborah Thompson to own, develop, and operate progressive restaurant brands in metro Atlanta.

Donnell Thompson moved into the world of franchising while playing for the Indianapolis Colts. He was accepted into a McDonald’s training program to become a franchisee and worked 60 hours per week every off season for six years from January to July for no payment. After retiring from the NFL, Thompson became owner and operator of five McDonald’s restaurants in the Atlanta metro area. He received the Golden Hat award from McDonald’s Corporation for operating all restaurants with AAA standard of quality, cleanliness, and profitability. Thompson is co-owner and operating partner of successful business entities that own and operate 11 Denny’s restaurants in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The DT Group will continue building on the successful business models of excellence established by Donnell Thompson and team. The current strategies for the DT Group are to own and operate Del Taco restaurants in the Atlanta metro area and to develop the brand into other progressive markets. We will utilize systems designed for Del Taco franchisees to achieve the highest quality in service and food preparation in a friendly, safe, and inviting environment.


Donnell Thompson has been in business for over 25 years with previous ownership of several franchises, including McDonald’s, Zaxby’s, and Denny’s restaurants. In addition, he has owned Choice and Marriott Hotel franchises. Mr. Thompson started his franchising career with McDonald’s in 1992 after a successful 12 career in the National Football League.

Thompson focuses on building strong management teams and is involved in all aspects of the business operations. He communicates regularly with his management team and conducts frequent site visits to his business locations to ensure quality standards are maintained, customer needs are satisfied, and customer expectations are exceeded.

Thompson graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, after which he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts.  He played in the NFL from 1981 to 1992.

 Deborah Carr Thompson currently serves as Vice President for RWDT Foods Inc. and RWDT Operating Company. She is responsible for administrative operations for the franchise companies doing business as Denny’s restaurants in multiple states.

Thompson has served as head of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education program area for the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a private foundation devoted to advancing biomedical research in the United States and Canada. She was responsible for developing and managing budgets that govern grant making in the STEM education area, an investment of $48.2 million from 1996 to 2014. She is an experienced leader and manager with over 38 years in the corporate and non-profit sectors. She has established numerous state, regional, and national strategic partnerships and has developed a distinguished network of leaders working to advance quality teaching and learning to benefit K-16 students.

Deborah Thompson graduated from North Carolina Central University and has numerous awards and honors including the Longleaf Pine award, the highest honor given by the Governor of North Carolina.