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In August of 2012, Pizza Ranch will begin serving 100% Ethiopian coffees, that are primarily sourced from the Kembata-Tembaro region. Through a strategic partnership with Ethiopia Reads and the Tesfa Foundation, Pizza Ranch will be able to start giving back to the communities that provide its coffee. Pizza Ranch will be giving $.50 to Ethiopia Reads for every pound of roasted coffee it uses. The funds will go towards Ethiopia Reads’ “Kembata-Tembaro Literacy Initiative”, a campaign to build a community library and five new learning centers for children in the Kembata-Tembaro region of Ethiopia over the next three years. Read a question-and-answer with Pizza Ranch’s chief operating officer, Jon Moss to learn more about what got this unique program brewing.


Tell us a little bit about Pizza Ranch


Pizza Ranch is a family-owned restaurant franchise of 170 restaurants across 10 states in the Midwest that was started back in 1981. Pizza Ranch obviously serves great pizza but we’re equally famous for having some of the best bone-in chicken in the country. We’re probably best known for our all-inclusive buffet of pizza, chicken, salad bar, ice cream, soda and coffee.”


Tell us more about the coffee part, that seems unique


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.


What led Pizza Ranch to partner with Ethiopia Reads?


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 and its partner organization Tesfa.


How have Pizza Ranch’s franchisees and managers responded to the program?


The response has been very positive. In fact, even before the coffee program launched in restaurant, the Pizza Ranch franchise community and our corporate office raised the funds needed to build one of the new learning centers in Kembata-Tembaro. Our franchisees are really excited to be offering our guests a great cup of coffee. And with our guests help we will be able to give something more to the people who provided that amazing cup of coffee.


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