On Monday, November 15th, Founder and President of Pizza Ranch, Adrie Groeneweg, was honored at the Iowa Events Center as the Iowa Restaurant Association’s Restaurateur of the Year. Groeneweg was selected for his business success, industry leadership, entrepreneurship and commitment to helping so many others pursue their dreams of restaurant ownership.
Pizza Ranch debuted more than 40 years ago in Hull, Iowa on December 21, 1981. In that time, Pizza Ranch has grown exponentially, with more than 200 locations in 15 states. Groeneweg credits franchisees for pushing the company to consider what have become some of their best differentiators such as adding chicken to the menu and offering a buffet.
After suffering a heart attack at age 38, Groeneweg shifted the mission of the organization. Their mission statement was changed to, ““To glorify God by positively impacting the world” and their culture reflected the evolution.” Groeneweg, and the company leadership, sought new ways to put their faith into action—in work and in the world. This set a tone for service throughout the franchises as well. Today, nearly every Pizza Ranch partners with the local high school to help student groups raise funds. Internationally, they source their coffee in Ethiopia and give back through the Tesfa Foundation to support schools where the coffee is sourced. Pizza Ranch Corporate has also sent teams on mission trips to work in an orphanage in Jamaica.
“Recognizing the role Adrie and Pizza Ranch have played in ensuring many Iowa and Midwest communities have a family restaurant available is long overdue,” said Jessica Dunker, President and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “His original vision has grown to give thousands of people meaningful employment, hundreds of franchisees opportunities for business ownership, and an untold number of patrons an inviting gathering place in their communities.”