The first restaurant opened December 21, 1981, in Hull, Iowa. The six original house pizzas were the Roundup (deluxe), Sweet Swine (Hawaiian), Texan Taco, Bronco (meat lover's), Prairie (veggie lover's) and Sagebrush. Initially, Pizza Ranch only offered a Tuesday night buffet, while the rest of the dining hours were for take-out or dine-in orders. The second Pizza Ranch opened in Orange City in 1983, where the first noon buffet was introduced. In 1987, with the addition of a Sioux City restaurant, the menu expanded to offer chicken.
Pizza Ranch has grown over the years and now has franchises in thirteen states. Pizza Ranch's specialties are their pizza and chicken. Their headquarters, formerly located in Hull, Iowa, is currently located in Orange City, Iowa.
Pizza Ranch is a Christian-based company. The Pizza Ranch vision is "To glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in."
In 2002, one of the co-founders, Lawrence Vander Esch, plead guilty to third degree sexual abuse. The abuse involved 17 and 18 year old employees of Pizza Ranch.
In March 2016, Pizza Ranch was linked to an E. coli outbreak, stemming from their dessert offerings. Subsequently, lawsuits were filed by victims and their families; one of the victims being an eight-year-old girl from Nebraska.