June 22, 2010 // Franchising.com // Orange City, Iowa – Old Western décor, stone accent walls, decorative artwork and comfortable seating – what sounds like a cozy family room is actually the dining area inside Pizza Ranch, the popular Midwest buffet concept blazing a trail throughout the region with a focused franchise expansion plan.
Implementing a strategic growth plan to more than double the brand's franchise footprint, Pizza Ranch is leveraging the unique niche it has carved in the fast-casual dining segment to attract qualified franchise investors at a steady 10 percent annual growth clip.
"Pizza Ranch combines great tasting food, unrivaled guest service, a one-of-a-kind dining environment and steadfast community support all under one roof," said Adrie Groeneweg, co-founder and president of Pizza Ranch, Inc. "Our business model, vision and mission allow for franchisees to be passionate and proud about what they do in the communities they serve. We've molded Pizza Ranch into a truly unique concept in a highly competitive marketplace."
For 2010, Pizza Ranch projects up to 14 new restaurant openings. Four launched in the first half of the year, with new operations in Carroll, Iowa; Mankato, Minn.; Indianola, Iowa; and Dickinson, N.D. Additionally, new franchise locations are currently under construction in Sheboygan, Wis., Boone, Iowa, Rapid City, S.D. and Cedar Falls, Iowa. Pizza Ranch's short and long-term Midwest expansion plans call for additional restaurants in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Minnesota. The company is also looking at escalating its presence with future locations in Missouri and several of the Great Plains states, including Montana and Colorado.
Menu items remain focused on traditional Pizza Ranch favorites, with recipes dating back to the company's origins, in addition to new innovative feature pizzas and salads such as the Farmers Market and Garden Roma salads as well as BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza and Tuscan Roma Pizza. Pizza Ranch is also known for their legendary chicken, known by those in the know as simply the "Country's Best Chicken®."
"We certainly have built a rich tradition around the dine-in buffet, but our loyal fans always craved more. That's why Pizza Ranch also offers carry-out and delivery service," added Groeneweg. "The commitment of the crews at our stores to provide the best experience possible for our guests is unrivaled. That extends from the high quality food prepared in our kitchens to the overall experience our customers have every time they come back to Pizza Ranch."
Awarding franchise opportunities to both single-unit and multi-unit investors, Pizza Ranch franchisees boast solid business acumen and a strong enthusiasm for community support. The brand's distinctive menu items combined with extraordinary guest service have created a winning restaurant business model.
"Pizza Ranch is more than just a restaurant," noted Groeneweg. "It is a gathering place for families, a social hub for friends, and a business missionary opportunity for franchisees. We look forward to executing our strategic growth and introducing more customers to Pizza Ranch."
Groeneweg, of Hull, Iowa, founded Pizza Ranch in 1981 at the young age of 19 after noticing that several members of the small town were traveling outside of the local community for pizza. After contacting a local banker, who at first was skeptical about the business venture, Groeneweg received a loan to open a pizza restaurant but it came with a pricey 19 percent interest rate. For several months, Adrie and his mother gathered around the kitchen table and worked hard to develop unique pizza sauce and crust recipes that would please the palates of local Hull residents. In December 1981, Pizza Ranch opened its doors and quickly experienced great success. Just two years later, a second location opened in Orange City, Iowa.
Since its inception, a major component of Pizza Ranch's success has been a constant commitment to community. Beyond the roomy "community rooms" available for special community gatherings and group meals, on any given night, Pizza Ranch locations partner with neighborhood schools, church groups, and other local organizations to raise money through Tip Nights, when anywhere from 5 to 20 percent of nightly sales go back to the groups and tip jars are set out to collect donations. Other Pizza Ranch community fundraising efforts include selling low cost coupon books for groups to purchase and sell as part of fundraising efforts, and the brand's creative Wagon Wheels school-donation program.
The brand also has formed partnerships with Pheasants Forever, and is a major sponsor for LifeLight, the largest free Christian concert festival series in the United States.
Pizza Ranch, Inc. is providing franchisees who sign a License Option Agreement by December 31, 2010, and open their restaurant within 12 months of signing, marketing dollars to support additional local store marketing efforts. The funds will equal 1 percent of gross sales resulting from the first year of operations.
Pizza Ranch's vision is "To glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in". Founded in Hull, Iowa, in 1981 by Adrie Groeneweg, Pizza Ranch is a prominent regional restaurant chain that offers a wide selection of pizza, salad, chicken with hot mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, and potato wedges, and desserts in a unique buffet-style environment. The brand's great tasting food is also available through carry-out and delivery service. Currently, the company boasts 150 locations throughout nine states in the Midwest and is currently executing an aggressive growth plan to more than double its presence in key U.S. markets.