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Williams, Arizona School Receives Pizza Factory Buddy Bench

Great pizza is the cornerstone of Pizza Factory, the popular pizza franchise with more than 110 locations across the United States. Community service is another. In keeping with that spirit, Derrick Wortner, Pizza Factory franchisees in Williams, Arizona donated a “Buddy Bench” to the Williams Elementary-Middle School at a special school assembly.


The Buddy Bench, imprinted with the message “Friends Are Awesome,” is the most visible aspect of the pizza franchise’s commitment to its strong anti-bullying program. Formalized by CEO Mary Jane Riva in 2012, the program is dedicated to increasing awareness of the pervasive problem. Pizza Factory restaurants have anti-bullying messages on coloring pages and the menu and franchisees can pick a local school partner as the recipient of the Buddy Bench.

The assembly, which took place on January 23, was covered in an article in Williams News which shared Wortner’s enthusiasm for the project. “When I was growing up the bullying wasn’t recognized as much as it now, so this is a great way to initiate a place [for them to start],” he said.

CEO Riva also attended the assembly and pointed out that the school had been given additional materials that could help spur discussion about bullying.

The Buddy Bench is to be used as a safe place by children who need some quiet time and a shoulder on occasion. Teachers also use the Bully Bench as a method of reaching out to students who might be hurting, the article said. Students attending the assembly received a bracelet with the words “Be Awesome, Be Cool, Be Friends,” a message which mirrors Pizza Factory’s own slogan: “We toss ‘em. They’re awesome.”

Pizza Factory’s anti-bullying program wins it high marks in local communities and media coverage, which in turn improves visibility for the pizza franchise.

Learn more about Pizza Factory and its commitment to communities.