When Curt Hopkins decided to open his own restaurant franchise, it didn’t take him long to settle on Pizza Ranch, one of the largest, most recognized pizza chains in the Midwest. He opened his first Pizza Ranch in Fairfield in September 2006. In 2012, he added a location in Ottumwa, and he is currently in the midst of preparations to open his third Pizza Ranch in Bloomington, Ill., which is slated to open in late August.
What made you decide to open a Pizza Ranch?
Back in 2005 I was working for Pella Windows as a department manager and I made the decision to open my own business. They had a Pizza Ranch in Pella and I really liked the concept and the fact that it was a Christian-based company, which really resonated with my personal beliefs. It just felt right. So we started looking for locations that would work for us and settled on the site in Fairfield.
For those people who’ve never visited a Pizza Ranch how would you describe it?
Pizza Ranch is the largest pizza chain in Iowa and it is very family friendly. We are renowned for our buffet, which features a wide range of pizzas with a variety of crusts, sauces and toppings, as well as fried chicken, veggies, salad and of course dessert. We are very involved in the community, too. One of our most popular programs is the “Community Impact” program. Members of an organization come in and help serve our guests. They receive donations from guests plus a percentage of sales from that night. It’s a great way to raise awareness and money for your organization, team, or for a local family in need.
Did owning a restaurant turn out like you thought it would?
Owning a restaurant is pretty close to what I thought it would be. I worked in food service when I was in college so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into. I got to know the owner of a local Burger King pretty well, which is actually one of the reasons why I decided to own a restaurant franchise. Watching his lifestyle and the opportunities he had was a big inspiration for me. To me that’s what America is all about – having the opportunity to work hard and put in the hours to see where you can take the business.
What do you like about banking with MidWestOne?
We started banking with MidWestOne in 2012 when we were in the middle of launching our Ottumwa location. We visited with them and talked them through our concept and they stepped up to the plate and gave us a fantastic rate on a business loan. They believe in the Pizza Ranch brand just like we do and we’ve really been able to develop a good relationship with all of them.