Pizza Ranch is proud to partner with the Tesfa Foundation to help supply internationally sourced restaurant coffee—and support literacy and education for Ethiopian children. Pizza Ranch’s Sr. Vice President & Chief Brand Officer, Jon Moss, explains what got this unique program brewing.
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 many years. Pizza Ranch provides a real community setting, and nothing fosters conversation like a cup of coffee. We serve around 2,000,000 cups of coffee a year, mostly as a part of our buffet offering.
Q: What led Pizza Ranch to partner with the Tesfa Foundation?
A: My wife and I have adopted two boys from Ethiopia, and through that process, we discovered first-hand the need for more access to early educational opportunities across the country. We also discovered that some of the finest coffees in the world come from Ethiopia and specifically from the area where our boys are from. 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 the Tesfa Foundation. Tesfa means hope in the Ethiopian language, and having a good education is foundational for hope.
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 the Tesfa Foundation 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 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 Ethiopia 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 support center 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 schools. Pizza Ranch restaurants contribute $.50 for every pound of coffee they use in the restaurants to non-profit Tesfa Foundation to oversee the operation of two schools in the region where Pizza Ranch’s coffee is sourced. Our franchisees are 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.
Coffee Partnership Timeline
Pizza Ranch begins partnering with churches in the U.S. to serve Ranch Roast coffee.
Two brand new furnished schools that are supported by Pizza Ranch's coffee program, opened their doors and welcomed 400 first-time students. The schools, which finished construction in April of this year, each have 200 students attending and are at 80% capacity. The two schools also employ 15 people in teaching and administration positions. Each of the two schools were built next to existing 1st-8th primary schools to enhance and support existing educational systems.
“We thank the staff of Ethiopia Reads and the community members of Azedabo and Fundame for their commitment to seeing these schools through to completion and now, most importantly, their operation."Jon Moss, Pizza Ranch’s Chief Operating Officer
The first kindergarten students graduate from the schools Pizza Ranch’s coffee supports
"School graduations are the most important time of the year for students and families. They can celebrate their accomplishment and build upon their educational foundation at the next school they attend."Dana Roskey, Tesfa Executive Director
Pizza Ranch continues to make an impact in Southern Ethiopia through the schools it helps support through its coffee program with the fourth class of graduating kindergarten students from the Pizza Ranch coffee supported schools.