April 17, 2013
Pizza Ranch along with its partner organization, Ethiopia Reads, is happy to announce the completion of two pre-k and kindergarten schools in the communities of Azedebo and Fundame, Ethiopia that will accommodate 250 students each. Each of the two schools were built next to existing 1st – 8th primary schools to enhance and support existing educational systems. Pizza Ranch was instrumental in funding the school builds along with providing the ongoing operational costs for the schools. This financial assistance is accomplished from Pizza Ranch restaurants donating $.50 for every pound of coffee it serves along with additional donations given by Franchisees, Managers and Support Center Staff. Pizza Ranch began serving these Ethiopian coffees in all of its locations in September of 2012. Pizza Ranch’s coffee is sourced from the area the two new schools have been built in. Hundreds of children will benefit directly from the schools and it will create a ripple effect that impacts their family members and communities in a positive way for generations to come.
Q: Tell us more about coffee’s role at Pizza Ranch®.
A: Some people are surprised that a “pizza place” would serve a great cup of coffee, but Pizza Ranch is a lot more than just a “pizza place,” and we’ve been serving Arabica quality coffee for the last eight years. Pizza Ranch provides a real community setting, and nothing fosters conversation like a cup of coffee. We’ll serve up around 2,000,000 cups of coffee in the year ahead, mostly as a part of our buffet offering.
Q: What led Pizza Ranch to partner with Ethiopia Reads?
A: My wife and I have adopted two boys from the Kembata-Tembaro region, and through that process we discovered first-hand the need for education in this region. We also discovered that some of the finest coffees in the world come from the same region. It just seemed really natural to me that something we are using every day in our restaurants could be part of the solution to improve the lives of the people who provide our coffee. We started searching out organizations doing work in bringing education and literacy to this region and were led to Ethiopia Reads.
Q: Tell us more about how the coffee partnership has developed.
A: In April, 2012, my wife and I visited Ethiopia along with Adrie Groeneweg (Pizza Ranch president and co-founder) and his wife. We toured a couple of schools operated by Ethiopia Reads and saw first-hand saw how smart the children were and how excited they were to be getting a great education. Another highlight of the trip was that we actually got to see Pizza Ranch’s new coffee in Ethiopia’s capital city and got to see and learn about the process of getting our coffee to the U.S. As part of this process we started building relationships with the key people who would help ensure Pizza Ranch would serve a fantastic coffee. We hope these relationships continue to grow so that we can benefit the coffee farmers of Kembata-Tembaro into the future.
Q: How have Pizza Ranch’s franchisees and managers responded to the program?
A: The response has been very positive. The whole Pizza Ranch community including franchisees, managers and the corporate office staff really stepped up big when learning of the new partnership. In fact, even before the first cup of Ethiopian coffee is served in a Pizza Ranch they raised the funds needed to build one of the new learning centers in Kembata-Tembaro for Ethiopia Reads. Our franchisees are really excited to be offering our guests a great cup of coffee that has a deep purpose. And with our guests’ help, we will be able to give something more to the people who provided that amazing cup of coffee.