Pizza Ranch will expand into Sarpy County this summer.
The restaurant chain specializing in a pizza and chicken buffet will open a location at Market Pointe in mid to late August. Site preparation is under way, and construction of the building is imminent.
Mark Tyner, area director for Pizza Ranch's corporate office, said the restaurant at 8810 S. 71st Plaza will be the chain's fifth corporate location. Instead of operating as a franchise, the restaurant is backed by employees of the corporate office in Orange City, Iowa.
“For people who want to invest or be part of the pizza ranch corporate, they have to be involved with the profit-sharing,” Tyner said. “It's to allow them to grow and be part of it.”
Two other Pizza Ranches in the metropolitan area, 3010 S. 84th St. in Omaha and 3505 Metro Drive in Council Bluffs, are also corporate-owned locations. The company hopes to continue steady expansion.
“We have looked at properties in Bellevue and in west Omaha,” Tyner said. “We do have plans to continue, but a lot depends – we're trying to not go too fast, so we're trying to make sure we do it right.”
The 5,950-square-foot restaurant with seating for up to 224 people will feature an indoor basketball court, which will give children a place to play away from the tables, as well as a community room.
The free-standing building at Market Pointe is expected to be similar to the Council Bluffs location.
The restaurant will initially employ about 110 people, with a mix of part-time and full-time jobs. The management team has already been hired, Tyner said, and is made up of local residents. The rest of the hiring is anticipated to begin mid June.
Many of the employees will be first-time workers, he said, which allows Pizza Ranch to contribute to the community by teaching good work ethics in a family-friendly environment.
Tyner said Pizza Ranch will be a “really, really good fit” for Papillion. He said he expects it will draw groups from Offutt Air Force Base and surrounding communities as well.
Pizza Ranch plans to give back to the community.
Tyner said he lives in Papillion himself, and his children attend the Papillion-La Vista School District.
The company sponsors reading programs and report card incentives, offering free meals to students who meet goals. They also offer a Wagon Wheel program that provides donations to schools.
“We give back in many different ways,” he said. “Schools and churches really is where we have the most heavy impact.”
The restaurant is known for allowing Bible study groups and others to use its facilities in mornings, and Tyner said community impact nights help raise money for local nonprofits and church groups.
When he was general manager of the Council Bluffs restaurant, he said the company gave a free dinner to those impacted by power outages when the Missouri River flooded.
Pizza Ranch employees also give back with volunteer effort, such as filling backpacks for students and working in soup kitchens.