Industry News | May 6, 2011

Pizza Ranch Ditches Gluten in New Crust Option

Pizza Ranch announced that, to accommodate customers with celiac disease and gluten intolerance, it has rolled out a gluten-free crust for its pizzas.

Nancy Jordahl, culinary research and development director for the Orange City, Iowa–based pizza buffet chain, says that because Pizza Ranch does not manufacture its own crust, she’s been carefully searching for a gluten-free option from providers for a while.  

“We’ve been getting some requests from guests over the last two years, and we looked at products in the market,” she says.

“Initially we didn’t find anything that we were comfortable with, and then we found a par-baked frozen crust that we took out to a field test, and our guests who have celiac [disease] and who are gluten-intolerant said that it was good, that they liked it. So we decided to bring it on.”

Jordahl says that when looking for possible gluten-free crust options, she looked at everything from the size of available crusts to the packaging that it came in. And while she says the final choice is a tasty pick for customers, it still won’t taste entirely like other Pizza Ranch crusts.

“When 60 percent of a product is wheat flour and you have to take that out and substitute other ingredients, then of course there are some differences,” she says.

The crust, Jordahl says, has been available in Pizza Ranch’s stores for a few months, and has already made a splash with those who have to avoid foods with gluten.

“I’ve got managers and owners who call me and say they’re surprised at how many they sell,” she says. “We get comment cards from our guests, and they’re really thankful that now their whole family can go out and enjoy a restaurant meal.”

Jordahl says customers can customize their own pizzas with the gluten-free crust, or order any of the concept’s specialties. The only other ingredient with gluten on the menu, she says, is streusel used on top of one of its dessert pizzas.

By Sam Oches

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.


Some operators do not think that the percentage of customers with dietary restriction (such as gluten intolerance) is high enough to make a change like this worthwhile. The fact of the matter is that those people with dietary restrictions hardly ever dine alone and often times, the dining decision is made based on WHERE the dietary restriction can be accomodated. So if you have a family of five and the mother is gluten intollerant, you can bet that whichever restaurant can best accomodate the Mother's dietary needs is going to get the business.I wonder if they also offer gluten-free pasta on the buffet? There are some quality products out there and would be welcomed by those with gluten allergies.Cheers!Chris

Great to hear! I've been gluten intolerant for over three years and it was a major learning curve but well worth the effort. It's awesome to see that there are more gluten free options and more restaurants catering to this growing group. The fact is on out of every four women are gluten intolerant (and may not even realize it). I knew that this was a growing trend long before I discovered I was gluten intolerant but now I don't feel as excluded from the experience of food as a result of places like Pizza Ranch! Chef Lee Wright started, The Wright Bites meal ideas that inspire people by showing savory gluten free meals rather than being forced into cardboard tasting food choices whether at home of dining out! He'll need to showcase Pizza Ranch's new gluten free pizza as an a great new option for those who are restricted from pizza!

We recently tried Pizza Ranch's Gluten Free Pizza and was amazed at how delicious the pizza was! We hope to see a Pizza Ranch show up in our area.

We are looking forward to the Hutchinson store opening and being able to eat gluten free pizza right here in our home town!

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