Name: Craig and Nancy Ferger
Opening Date: November 2014
Company: Pizza Ranch
Location: Weston, Wisconsin
Q: Tell us about your background.
A: I worked as a welder for 38 years at Taylor Co. in Rockton, Illinois, and my wife was in the insurance industry for 32 years with American Family Insurance. We retired from our respective jobs and looked to start a new challenge. We looked at different business opportunities, mostly in the food service industry. We liked the Pizza Ranch model, and when we met with the Pizza Ranch representatives, we felt it was a good fit. As Nancy says, “We retired and went back to work.”
Q: Tell us about your business.
A: We are a buffet restaurant, located in Weston, Wisconsin, that also does pick-up and delivery. Our buffets feature a pizza buffet with a buffet-your-way option, which means we will make any pizza you want and bring the first pieces to your table then we put the rest on the buffet. We also have a chicken buffet featuring the country's best chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, hot vegetables, a selection of fried food and potato wedges, a full salad bar and a dessert bar and soft serve ice cream. We feature Coke products, tea and coffee - and all this is offered for one low price.
Pizza Ranch, a Christian based organization, was founded in Hull, Iowa in 1981 and has over 190 locations. Our location opened in September 2014. We have a staff of 60 employees, mostly part time. We can be found on the Pizza Ranch web site Pizza Ranch or on Facebook.
Q: What is one of the biggest challenges you faced and how did you recover?
A: When a customer makes a comment about their dining experience, we like to respond. If they are not happy, we will try to make it right with them. We also endeavor to never make the same mistakes.
Q: How did you finance your business?
A: We were told about Benetrends, and learned we could use our 401(k), tax-deferred and penalty-free, and they helped us with the rollover process. Additionally, we took on investors and then we borrowed the rest from the bank.
Q: Do you have a favorite story about a customer interaction or any notable clients?
A: I was not a very people orientated person before opening the restaurant but my wife was. She showed me the ropes, and now I love to interact with the guests.
Q: Any awards, certifications, etc. that you want to tell us about? Or do you do any charity or non-profit work you want to mention?
A: We are highly committed to giving back to our community. Pizza Ranch offers a “Community Impact” fundraising program, which allows non-profits or schools to raise money for their organization. The group promotes the event, provides the manpower to serve the guests, and in return for their efforts they receive donations from guests plus a percentage of sales from the event.
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