History

Every legend starts with a story. From humble beginnings in a small Iowa town to 200 plus restaurant locations across the Midwest, Pizza Ranch has grown with loyal customers and hard-working franchise owners. Striving to uphold the company’s Mission and Vision, each Pizza Ranch location is a part of our lore and can trace its roots back to the very beginning of the story.

Kick back, put your boots up and listen to where the legend began.

Humble Roots

When Adrie Groeneweg began testing pizza recipes in his parents’ kitchen in the early 1980s, little did he know he was creating a recipe that would result in a resounding business success.

Our humble beginnings can be traced to Hull, Iowa, the quaint hometown of Pizza Ranch President and founder, Adrie Groeneweg. Adrie was dividing his post-high school days between welding and working at a pizza parlor in a nearby town. Adrie’s curiosity surfaced as the 19-year old noticed a lot people from his hometown driving to Sioux Center for supper at the pizza parlor he worked at. Adrie went home at night and shared these observations with his father Bill. 

Thankfully Adrie’s dad saw a lot of potential in the pizza business and in his son. Bill found a building on main street Hull that could be converted into a restaurant and urged Adrie to open his own pizza place. Adrie’s dad was also willing to put his own funds on the line and signed the note at the bank for this new business venture with an interest rate of 18%. Now the only things that were left were a name and recipes. Adrie’s folks came up with the Western theme idea and Adrie created the recipes. Pizza Ranch welcomed its first guest on December 21, 1981.

Legendary Growth

Two and a half years after the Hull Pizza Ranch opened Adrie received an inquiry from a businessman in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, wanting to know if Adrie was interested in franchising his concept. As it turns out, the answer was yes and the first Pizza Ranch franchise was born in 1984.

Today, with more than 200 franchised locations in thirteen states, Pizza Ranch is the largest, most recognized pizza chain in the Midwest—and showing no signs of slowing any time soon. In addition to the legendary buffet and customer-first mindset, much of the credit for success of Pizza Ranch can be traced to a rock-solid foundation built upon Adrie’s father’s original “pay it forward” attitude.

Let’s take a ride back in time and discover the important milestones Pizza Ranch has marked on the journey!

History Timeline

The original Pizza Ranch restaurant opens in Hull, Iowa.

Year: 1981

A second location opens in Orange City, Iowa and the noon buffet is introduced.

Year: 1983

The first Pizza Ranch franchise opens Mountain Lake, Minnesota.

Year: 1984

Our 5th Anniversary and there are ten Pizza Ranch locations. We introduce coupon books to help local organizations raise funds. Our support of local fundraisers has been growing ever since!

Year: 1986

Chicken is added to the menu and it quickly becomes known as The Country’s Best Chicken®.

Year: 1987

Our 10-year anniversary, Pizza Ranch has expanded to 52 locations in five states.

Year: 1991

We introduce Skillet Crust pizza and Cactus Bread® dessert pizza, offering guests a new variety of choices.

Year: 1993

Pizza Ranch celebrates its 15th Anniversary with 80 restaurants.

Year: 1996

Ranch Pack® Value Meals, Ranch Wraps and Mashed Potatoes and gravy are all added to the menu.

Year: 2000

Our 100th location opens, just 22 years after our humble start.

Year: 2003

Putting beliefs into action, President Adrie Groeneweg unveils Pizza Ranch’s Mission and Vision Statements, renewing our commitment to glorify God by positively impacting the world.

Year: 2004

Gift Cards are introduced and guests love the re-loadable cards that make the perfect gift.

Year: 2005

Twenty-five years after the first restaurant opened, Pizza Ranch grows to 135 locations.

Year: 2006

Pizza Ranch outgrows our Corporate Headquarter’s original location in Hull, and a new Pizza Ranch Restaurant Support Center is built in nearby Orange City, Iowa.

Year: 2007

After hiring a dedicated Culinary Research and Development Director, Pizza Ranch begins offering quarterly featured items. Some of these limited-time-only pizzas and salads have been so popular, they’ve subsequently been added to the menu, like Tuscan Roma. We also started emphasizing our famous “Buffet Your Way” which allows our buffet guests to request their favorite pizza and have the first slice delivered right to their table!

Year: 2009

With 160 locations open by our 30th anniversary, Pizza Ranch launches the Ranch Rewards program to thank guests for their loyalty. Ranch Rewards members earn points every time they dine that add up to valuable rewards and receive other exclusive offers and promotions.

Year: 2011

Pizza Ranch Ranch Rewards releases an App in the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. The app allows guests to store their Ranch Rewards card information and tap to check in to a restaurant for a cardless experience.

Year: 2016

Pizza Ranch reaches 200 restaurant locations in 13 states with plans for continued growth. The launch of the new pepperoni pizza marks a commitment to continuous improvement in our cravable food offerings.

Year: 2017