Why It’s Important for Brands to Support A Cause: President and CEO Mary Jane Riva Offers Tips in Franchising USA Article

Why It’s Important for Brands to Support A Cause: President and CEO Mary Jane Riva Offers Tips in Franchising USA Article

Recently, Mary Jane Riva, president and CEO of Pizza Factory wrote a contributed article for Franchising USA on why you should support causes as a brand. At Pizza Factory, we understand the importance of supporting causes with our No Bully Zone initiative. Check out the piece here: https://bit.ly/2RgVb5d.


Risky. Bold. Purposeful—three words that describe the most successful brands today.

If you’ve thumbed through Instagram posts or watched television ads lately, you’ve likely noticed that the content is more authentic. To bolster the public’s trust and appear more human, companies are finding unique ways to be socially conscious and support initiatives that aim to make the world a better place.

Nowadays brands have the opportunity to use their power and influence to stand for something or stand for nothing. If you’re wondering why your brand should take a stand and how, here are three reasons why being bold can end up strengthening your company:

Support Your Mission

Whether you’re hosting a company-wide donation drive for a national charity or publically commenting on a hot button issue, these authentic actions will help position your company as socially responsible and supportive of community endeavors. Plus, when you align your actions with a cause that’s reflective of your company values, it’ll further support your brand mission. If you’re wondering where to start, reflect inward on your founding principles for inspiration and creative opportunities to make a difference.

At Pizza Factory, we pride ourselves on being the go-to neighborhood spot for families and friends. As a brand, we dubbed our family-friendly restaurants No Bully Zones, meaning we don’t tolerate bullying on our property— and this is message is printed everywhere. We even print tips on how to deal with bullies and uncomfortable situations on our napkins and uniforms. When you acknowledge bullying head-on by not allowing it to happen, everything changes and that’s why we’ve made it a standard across all of our locations.

We do our best to make sure our managers, hourly staff and the rest of our teams are on the same page when it comes to treating others with respect, and the best way to do this is through new employee orientation and training. Beyond the anti-bullying aspect, our larger message is strongly tied to a better treatment of other through kindness and acceptance. It’s our hope that by setting an example with our positive teams and our No Bully Zone policy, that we can always be the go-to for families and communities looking to relax and grab a bite to eat.

Engage With Community

Besides reinforcing your company’s core values, taking a stand on societal issues (when appropriate) can be a great opportunity to interact with your fans and potential customers. In fact, nowadays, people want brands to speak out—a 2018 study by Cone/Porter Novelli found that 71% of Americans expect companies to connect with them emotionally on issues that matter to them personally.

For Pizza Factory, the signage, napkins and other messaging about the No Bully Zone prompt a lot of questions from our guests, which is great because we’re able to open up a conversation with them about the issue. And, it’s our hope that the conversation continues around the table when we walk away. After implementing the No Bully Zone, we’ve heard guests say they feel more comfortable dropping kids off with their friends knowing they’re in a welcoming and positive environment.

But the No Bully Zone is not only awesome for guests, it’s also great for employees. Mentorship is a huge part of career development at Pizza Factory. So, when we hire younger adults and students, we view it as an opportunity to positively shape and influence a person. It’s our hope that all of our employees are inspired by our No Bully Zone and that they take those values with them wherever they are.

Make a Difference

Considering the amount of public influence a brand has, it’s most important to consider the effect our actions can have on the world.

I’ve had several employees come forward and express that seeking employment with Pizza Factory was partially due to the anti-bully atmosphere, which is awesome. We even had one staff member make a video about the No Bully Zone covering their volunteer work.

For our most recent initiative, we’ve been donating “Friends are Awesome” benches as a way to extend our anti-bullying message into the schools. We personally travel to different Pizza Factory markets, visiting elementary schools to present them with a symbolic bench and to speak to the importance of friendship and inclusion when the kids are at an impressionable age.

In the end, being bold and voicing your opinion on important matters can be an effective way to strengthen your brand and open the door for a deeper, emotional connection with your customers. As leaders, we have an undeniable, powerful opportunity to make a difference through our words and actions—so make sure you’re standing for something.

Mary Jane Riva is the CEO of Pizza Factory. Founded 30 years ago, the brand has become well known for serving fresh, high-quality pizza, sandwiches, salads and more. Pizza Factory brand is also widely recognized for its close community connection, which includes its iconic “No Bully Zone” program and impactful fundraising partnerships.

Spokane Indians Partnership Scores Home Run for Pizza Factory

Pizza Factory is not just known for its mouthwatering creations. It also sets itself apart in the communities it serves by forging vital partnerships with local organizations. The pizza franchise’s recent partnership with the Spokane Indians is an example of just such an initiative.

3Through the wide platform that the minor league baseball team enjoys, Pizza Factory is looking to hit a home run with its iconic “No Bully Zone” initiative far and wide. The pizza franchise launched the program to highlight the pervasiveness of bullying and to encourage schools and area institutions to foster safe spaces for kids.

The signature marketing program promotes the no-bullying message through community resources. In addition, CEO Mary Jane Riva addresses school assemblies in the more than 100 communities where the pizza franchise is located and donates a “No Bully Zone” bench to be installed in playgrounds.

The Spokane Indians partnership is expected to increase awareness of bullying and encourage the creation of no-bully zones through special messaging at Avista Stadium. “The Indians, who have fans across the region, have values and a strong moral compass that align perfectly with our goals,” says Riva. “We pride ourselves on being involved in the communities we serve, and look forward to propelling our anti-bullying message forward with the help of the Indians’ local presence. Together we can reach the masses with love and stop bullying in its tracks.”

Pizza Factory franchisees benefit from such strategic alliances with area sports teams. The pizza franchise has also struck a similar partnership with the San Jose Sharks and always supports school sports teams as well. Such vital alliances help strengthen the pizza franchise in the communities it serves and in turn help franchisees who benefit from the goodwill that Pizza Factory fosters.

Learn more about Pizza Factory and how its marketing initiatives help franchisees.

Pizza Factory Announces Plans to Expand in Jackson, Wyoming

For more than 30 years, Pizza Factory has prided itself on its sense of community and supporting local business growth. Spreading smiles with every slice, the company strives to bring the hometown pizzeria feel to customers wherever they stop in for a bite. Now, the company is spreading its message of community involvement and great food to even more customers with the announcement of its intent to expand in Jackson, Wyoming.

Pizza Factory plans to expand to Jackson, Wyoming.

With more than 110 locations in the western U.S., Pizza Factory is now targeting its growth in states including Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming.

The data shows that Jackson is one of the fastest growing towns in Wyoming, averaging a growth rate of 1.02% since 2009. Based on data from the 2016 census, the population count is forecasted to increase by 4.9% in the coming years.

Additionally, Jackson Hole, the valley where the town is located, is a hot spot for tourism. Grand Teton, a national park that encompasses Jackson Hole, saw a total of 3.27 million visitors in 2016, breaking previous records. These numbers spell out an appealing opportunity for entrepreneurs who dream of owning their own business while getting to know their community and visitors on a daily basis.

Mary Jane Riva, the president and CEO of Pizza Factory, says Jackson has exactly what the pizza franchise is looking for.

“The role we play goes well beyond just being the best place in the neighborhood for pizza,” said Riva. “We create opportunities for Jackson residents to live and work in their hometown while building a business of their own, plus visitors to the area can get a sense of the community values that Pizza Factory has been espousing since our inception in 1985. We are growing our footprint into neighborhoods big and small where we know our awesome people, product and philanthropic partnerships will be valued and Jackson is a perfect match.”

Offering fresh, never-frozen toppings, 100 percent real mozzarella cheese and their signature sauce, Pizza Factory only hand-tosses the best for its customers. Standing by the motto, “We Toss‘Em, They’re Awesome!” the pizza franchise is not only looking to bring a hometown pizzeria to the awesome people who live in and visit Jackson, but they’re also seeking out franchisee inquiries from locals who “have a passion for their hometown” and are interested in operating the Jackson Pizza Factory Location.

Pizza Factory franchisees are passionate entrepreneurs who are dedicated to bringing quality recipes and exceptional service to their towns, fostering a better sense of community.

Click here to learn about franchising opportunities with Pizza Factory in Jackson and beyond as well as how you can bring together your community.

Pizza Factory Named a Best Franchise Deal by Franchisee Satisfaction

Pizza Factory franchiseesAt Pizza Factory, franchisees are the heart of its business. For more than 30 years, the pizza franchise has served up the best pizzas in town, and it takes its role in its franchisees’ success very seriously.

Pizza Factory looks for franchisees who are excited to be a part of a team and help their communities thrive, display a strong work ethic and have a desire to bring high-quality, fresh pizza to their communities. The pizza franchise provides an ongoing support system to its awesome franchisees to empower them to be their neighborhood’s number one hometown pizzeria.

Franchisees are happy and passionate about providing the best pizza in town. Alongside QSR’s Best Franchise Deals for 2018, Franchise Business Review named Pizza Factory as one of the six best franchise deals by franchisee satisfaction.

Weighing franchisee satisfaction and other metrics, Franchise Business Review created their own best franchise deals picks within six menu categories for the first time, and Pizza Factory is proud to stand as the leading franchise deal based on franchisee satisfaction in the pizza category.

As noted by QSR, Franchise Business Review reports, “Oakhurst, California-based Pizza Factory shows many promising signs of future growth as it pushes eastward from its strong base of 110 locations, primarily in California. Recent Franchise Business Review research indicates Pizza Factory franchisees rate their current financial picture 15 percent higher than industry benchmarks.”

At Pizza Factory, franchisees get more than just another cookie cutter pizza franchise. The pizza franchise is always supporting its franchisees to ensure they’re never alone in bringing local flavor and quality recipes to their communities.

Click here to learn about Pizza Factory’s awesome franchising opportunities.

Pizza Factory in Twain Harte, California, Shows Off New Makeover And New Pizza Franchise Opportunities For Those In Community


Pizza Factory is already a darling among its loyal customers in more than 110 locations across the West. Now the popular pizza franchise has yet another opportunity and reason for gourmands and families to linger: a brand-new renovation of the Twain Harte, California location.

Mary Jane Riva, the CEO of Pizza Factory and her husband Bob, have supervised the makeover and the result is a fun and inviting restaurant that serves as a community hub while crafting high-quality food. The Rivas will oversee daily operations at the Twain Harte location.

Pizza Factory stands by its motto, “We Toss’Em, They’re Awesome!” and the Twain Harte location continues to live up to those high internal standards. Pizza Factory uses only fresh, never-frozen ingredients, and the pizza franchise’s commitment to the craft is reflected in every dish they make from the hand-tossed pizzas to hand-rolled meatballs and sauces made from scratch daily.

Equally important is the dedication that Pizza Factory franchisees demonstrate to the communities in which they are located. The pizza franchise has developed an in-house “No Bully Zone” program, which is meant to increase awareness of bullying in schools and present tangible solutions to the problem. Participating schools receive a special bench where a child who is having a rough day can hang out and seek a friendly shoulder for support.

The brand-new makeover for the Twain Harte location is one of many strategic moves that the popular pizza franchise continues to make it expands across the West. Pizza Factory will continue to bring pizza franchise opportunities with its brand of fresh, never-frozen foods and community participation to states such as Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana.

Passionate entrepreneurs who are dedicated to serving their communities with a special recipe of quality foods and service especially love Pizza Factory. Learn more about pizza franchise opportunities.

Pizza Forms a Growing $45.5 Billion Market Segment in the United States

If there’s one food that Americans love, it’s pizza. The 2018 Pizza Power Report positions the U.S. pizza market as a growing $45.5 Billion industry. This is good news for Pizza Factory, whose successful recipe of outstanding gourmet pizzas and community-centered approach to business has won it a loyal following in more than 110 locations across six states.

According to the report, the top 50 chains, Pizza Factory among them, take up a whopping 58.9% of total sales, which means Pizza Factory franchisees stand to bite into a lucrative slice of a thriving market segment. With 93% of Americans eating at least one pizza a month, the demand continues unabated.

Additional factors leaning in Pizza Factory’s favor: Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about the quality of the food and sourcing of ingredients. Pizza Factory stands by its slogan: “We Toss‘Em, They’re Awesome!” and always uses fresh ingredients in its handcrafted creations.

Also notewpizza-with-fresh-veggiesorthy, consumers are looking for convenience, a demand which Pizza Factory easily satisfies. Pizza Factory offers convenient online ordering, creative menus and customer loyalty rewards all of which position the pizza franchise as one of the forward-leaning franchises in the industry.

Equally important, Pizza Factory gives its franchisees the tools to profit off market demand. The pizza franchise offers comprehensive training and marketing support to its franchise family so franchisees are optimally positioned to earn a generous slice of the booming pizza market.

Learn how you can become a part of the Pizza Factory franchise family.

Pizza Factory Looking to Expand to New Locations in Western US

Mouthwatering pizza. Fresh ingredients. Outstanding community outreach. These ingredients have made Pizza Factory a popular franchise in a thriving industry. Pizza Factory’s slogan “We Toss‘Em, They’re Awesome!” already resonates with customers all across the West Coast.


With more than 110 locations in six states, Pizza Factory is now looking to deliver its strong business opportunity backed by robust marketing and training support to new franchisees in communities across the West. A recent article in Sterling, Colorado’s Journal-Advocate, discussed the impressive growth track that Pizza Factory has been on and highlighted the opportunity to local entrepreneurs who might be looking for a slice of the action.

“The role we play goes well beyond just being the best place in the neighborhood for pizza,” said Mary Jane Riva, president and CEO of Pizza Factory, in the article. “We create opportunities for Sterling residents to live and work in their hometown while building a business of their own. We are growing our footprint into neighborhoods big and small where we know our awesome people, product and philanthropic partnerships will be valued and Sterling has exactly what we are looking for.”

In addition to Colorado, Pizza Factory is looking to open 10 restaurants annually in new locations in California, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Arizona and Oregon. Pizza Factory franchisees enjoy extensive training and support opportunities throughout their careers and can lean on the pizza franchise for expertise. Buoyed by such strong support, many franchisees have gone on to become multi-unit operators.

As the beloved pizza franchise continues to conquer the West, passionate entrepreneurs who are looking for a delicious opportunity to own their own business will find much to love about Pizza Factory.

Learn more about the many terrific advantages that Pizza Factory franchisees enjoy.

Pizza Factory Sponsors San Jose Sharks “Hockey is for Everyone” Night

Post Game Photo - PF 2.15.18Pizza Factory has made a name for itself as one of the most community focused businesses in each of its markets. To this point, the brand recently sponsored the San Jose Sharks “Hockey is for Everyone” Night in cooperation with You Can Play, an NHL- supported non-profit organization that works to ensure the safety and inclusion of all in sports including LGBTQ athletes, coaches, and fans.

Hockey is for Everyone™ uses the game of hockey – and the National Hockey League’s global influence – to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities. The NHL and San Jose Sharks support any teammate, coach or fan who brings heart, energy and passion to the rink and believe all hockey programs – from professionals to youth organizations – should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status.

An official partner, Pizza Factory is the exclusive pizza provider at Sharks’ events and at the SAP Center in San Jose. This marketing venture, which began in September 2017, means a greater opportunity for the public to taste high-quality pizza and appreciate Pizza Factory’s slogan, “We Toss’Em, They’re Awesome!”

The joint venture also gives the Pizza Factory franchise a national platform for its community outreach efforts, including its popular “No Bully Zone” program. Community involvement is an operating cornerstone of Pizza Factory’s business philosophy. The pizza franchise will host a special Game Night every season to increase awareness of its programs and to continue to work on fostering inclusive communities.

If you’re interested in being a community-minded business owner, join our growing family. Click here to learn about franchising opportunities.

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.

Pizza Factory–No Bully Zone copy

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.



Pizza Factory Franchisees Bring Anti-Bullying Program to Area School

Pizza Factory’s dedication to its slogan “We toss ‘em. They’re awesome” has delivered scrumptious pizzas and carved a niche in the growing $40 billion pizza industry. But it is the commitment that Pizza Factory demonstrates to the communities it serves that makes the franchise an even bigger standout.

Community outrbuddybench2each and service are an important part of the Pizza Factory mission. Across area schools, Pizza Factory’s franchisees use a custom anti-bullying program, “The No Bully Zone,” to emphasize the need for friendship. Groveland, California franchisees Earl Wright and Christina Leaman recently hosted an assembly in the local Tenaya Elementary to spread Pizza Factory’s message of kindness.

The event was featured in the area Union Democrat newspaper, which pointed out that this was the first time grades from first through eighth assembled together. They were encouraged to “Be Awesome, Be Cool, Be Friends,” a slogan that was also imprinted on special bracelets handed out to the children.

The donation of a “No Bully Bench” anchors Pizza Factory’s anti-bullying program. In donating such a bench to Tenaya Elementary, Pizza Factory CEO Mary Jane Riva addressed the assembly and called on the eighth graders to model good behavior for younger students. “How you treat someone can make their day or break their day. Choose kindness,” Riva said.

The newspaper article reported that the No Bully Bench, which has the words “Friends are Awesome” and “No Bully Zone” will be placed under an apple tree in the school yard and will be accessible to all.

The community outreach that Pizza Factory franchisees regularly participate in wins high marks among its many customers and gets it noticed by the media. This in turn broadcasts Pizza Factory’s winning message of delicious pizzas and outstanding community service far and wide.

Learn how Pizza Factory can help you give back to your community while owning a thriving small business.