ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa-based Pizza Ranch, known for its buffet of pizza, chicken and other offerings, expanded last year, even as the coronavirus pandemic hit the restaurant industry harder than most.
Pizza Ranch, based in Orange City, has over 200 locations in 14 states. The chain added five new locations last year and has six or seven more openings slated for this year, Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Achterhoff told the Sioux City Journal.
“We really maintained momentum — that’s below our normal annual expansion of units, but most brands, most concepts, were not expanding at all this year,” Achterhoff said.
The National Restaurant Association reported in September that almost 100,000 restaurants — nearly one in every six — closed permanently or long-term due to the pandemic. Many restaurants struggled with government-ordered shutdowns across the country, and the industry was expected to lose around $240 billion in sales by the end of the year, according to the association.
Even with the expansion, Achterhoff acknowledged that the past year has been challenging for Pizza Ranch, noting the chain weathered it by becoming more reliant on carryout and deliveries in 2020.
“Delivery and pickup, or to-go, did overtake our buffet business (in) 2020,” he said. “Historically, we’re 80 percent buffet, dine-in buffet ... that’s what people think of Pizza Ranch.”