CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Pizza Ranch, an Orange City-based chain of "fast casual" restaurants, plans to open a standalone location in March at Westdale Drive and Williams Boulevard SW.
Brandon Pratt, the Pizza Ranch franchisee who will own the restaurant, said the 5,700-square-foot building will share a parking lot with the relocated Cedar Rapids Public Library. The eatery, which will seat 224 and employ about 75, will be across the street from an entrance to Westdale Mall on the perimeter of a former Target store parking lot.
Pratt, who also owns the Pizza Ranch at 1610 Sycamore St. in Iowa City, said the Cedar Rapids Pizza Ranch will have a drive-up window and offer the chain's full menu including pizza, broasted chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables, salad and soup bar, and dessert bar.
"We really feel there are a lot of great things going on in the southwest side right now," Pratt said. "I think my target audience is there and our product can really benefit the people in that area.
"With the addition of Kohl's opening in March, Menard's located nearby, and the Cedar Rapids Public Library expansion across our parking lot, we see a lot of opportunities. Part of our business philosophy at Pizza Ranch is involvement in local schools and libraries, where we do reading programs."
Pratt said he's also encouraged to hear that there will be construction work at Kohl's and other nearby locations, noting that construction workers are steady customers of Pizza Ranch.
Pizza Ranch is closing in on 180 franchise locations in nine states. Pratt said the Cedar Rapids restaurant will be a "flagship" location with some additions not found at other Pizza Ranches.
Pratt has begun the search for his full-time general manager, assistant general manager, kitchen manager and a guest service manager. He said between 10 and 15 additional people will be hired to work 35 to 40 hours a week and the remainder of the 75 will be part-time workers.
"My guess is we will begin taking applications in the January-to-February time frame," Pratt said. "We would like to have everyone hired two weeks before we open the store so everyone receives two weeks of training.
"Hopefully the store will do as well as our other locations and after a few months we can begin looking for another location on the north side of Cedar Rapids."