With simple operations and high margins, mobile business and special venues offer Rita’s owners a big Italian ice business opportunity in a small package
Rita’s franchisees can expand their business in a number of ways, like food trucks, Express Units and mobile carts. And the carts offer plenty of room for further growth.
“We’re in a local university with our cart business, and we started with one cart there. Now we have six carts,” says Brett Hrovat, who owns two standalone stores and a cart business in Columbia, SC. “These days, everyone’s taking their food to the customer, and that’s something we’re really doing more of.”
Mobile and venues help you go where your guests are
With carts or food trucks, you can take your business nearly anywhere, helping expand your business beyond the four walls of your store and reaching Rita’s customers in locations or venues where they’re sure to be craving a refreshing Italian ice or frozen custard.
Any Rita’s franchisee can add mobile carts to their operation. Franchisees can choose to take carts or trucks where the guests are, work with special venues to provide carts as a regular offering to their guests or open fixed-location Express Units in special venues. We have franchisees who operate carts or Express Units in arenas, water parks and youth sports facilities, which can all provide steady business.
By going out to your guests, you can also bring more of them into your storefront. Special venues and mobile business can serve as a valuable marketing tool. Not only do they serve guests in the perfect place for a sweet treat, they also introduce the brand to new guests who can become loyal fans.
“I’m in the football stadium, the baseball stadium, the basketball and hockey arena, which is open and operating all winter, I’m in the zoo and the convention center,” says Philadelphia multi-unit owner Brad Leventhal. “I think it’s a great marketing tool to be in venues.”
It’s also a great way to integrate your business into your neighborhood by hosting or going out to community events, youth sports games and fundraisers for local causes.
“We’ll do special events; we support a lot of local charities. There are three children’s hospitals in the area, so we’ll go out to them and supply ice to the kids,” says Leventhal. “It’s fun and it’s rejuvenating to give back to the community like that.”
Simpler offerings for a high-margin Italian ice business opportunity
Adding mobile units or special venues can be a simpler way to grow for franchisees who want to expand their involvement with our Italian ice business opportunity, but who may not be ready to add an entire new store to their portfolio. For multi-unit owners, it offers a way to diversify their interests without having to explore and invest in a whole new brand.
“One of the nice things is that your store acts as a home base,” says San Jose, CA, franchisee Humza Chowdhry. Chowdhry owns a diverse array of Rita’s locations; he has a standalone Rita’s store, a location in a sports arena, a food truck, a cart in a local water park and he’s opening a kiosk in a shopping mall. “Even if you only have one standalone store, this gives you the opportunity to multiply your revenue streams from that one location.”
You may not even have to hire staff specifically for your carts, instead tapping into the team members you know and trust from your existing stores. Carts have a simplified product offering and low operating costs, which helps you add revenue at a higher profit margin.
“With the mobile carts, the operations really come down to getting the product in the carts and getting it to the next venue,” says Hrovat. “Once you get it there, the execution of the rest is pretty simple. I see higher margins in cart business than in-store business, and if you have multiple stores, it’s much easier to handle inventory and you can schedule your current employees to work the cart business, so it makes staffing a lot easier.”
Learn more about the Rita’s opportunity
If you’d like to learn more about the growing Italian ice business opportunity with Rita’s, fill out the form on this page to access our Franchise Information Center, where you can find detailed financial results, a breakdown of startup costs and in-depth Q&As with Rita’s franchisees.