Pizza Ranch to open in Grand Forks in early DecemberNew restaurant in Menard’s strip mall to offer daily buffet, delivery service Construction began in September on Pizza Ranch, located at 3750 32nd Ave. S. in the Menard’s strip mall. General Manager Matt Slater said the 6,000-square-foot restaurant will have two party rooms and dining space for 248 when it opens in early December.
Grand Forks’ newest pizza joint will open for business next month in the city’s retail and commercial hub of 32nd Avenue South.
Construction began in September on Pizza Ranch, located at 3750 32nd Ave. S. in the Menard’s strip mall. General Manager Matt Slater said the 6,000-square-foot restaurant will have two party rooms and dining space for 248 when it opens in early December.
Slater said the restaurant will have a staff of 85 to 100 employees, most of them part-time. Pizza Ranch will start off with a “soft” opening, but he said the restaurant will plan a grand opening event for early next year.
Franchise owner Mike Christianson of Minot signed a five-year lease for the space. He also owns Pizza Ranch restaurants in Dickinson and Minot and has franchise rights to several cities in North Dakota and Montana.
The Grand Forks restaurant will offer a daily pizza, chicken and salad bar buffet from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Customers also can order off the regular menu for dine-in, carryout or delivery 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
‘Location is everything’
Slater, 31, was managing a Kmart in Davenport, Iowa, when he got a call from Christianson, a previous co-worker at a Radio Shack. Slater said the offer to manage a new Pizza Ranch in Grand Forks made sense because it would allow him to move back closer to his home town of Buxton, N.D.
Although he does not have restaurant experience, Slater said he is ready to lead Grand Forks’ newest pizza place.
“Restaurant business is no different than most of my experience in retail,” he said. “It really is just a people business.”
Slater said his goal is to provide customers with “great service at a great value” that will keep them coming back. The restaurant will charge $8.35 for its lunch buffet, which includes pizza, chicken, salad, dessert and a beverage, and $9.35 for the dinner buffet.
Pizza Ranch, based in Orange City, Iowa, was founded in 1981 and now has about 165 locations in the Midwest. It is the largest regional pizza franchise in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota.
Pizza Ranch has 14 restaurants in North Dakota, including locations in Devils Lake, Hillsboro, Fargo, Jamestown and Wahpeton.
But the company has only recently begun to expand to larger communities, such as Grand Forks.
“I think it’s because of the opportunity that’s there because we’ve always been in smaller areas,” Slater said. “With Ruby Tuesday, Olive Garden and the other new restaurants, you see people love to eat out in Grand Forks.”
Slater said he thinks Pizza Ranch will be a good fit in the city’s south-end retail and restaurant corridor, which has seen several new businesses open in the past year.
“Location is everything,” he said. “We’re right in the heart of where everyone’s going. You’ve got to be where everybody’s at if you want to be successful.”
Johnson reports on local business. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.