A double? Why not a triple?

Rita’s franchise is the perfect business model to stack up into a multi-unit franchise investment for your portfolio

A line of people at a Rita’s window outside on a sunny city street.

Rita’s simple business model and flexible footprints make it easy to to scale a multi-unit operation quickly.

Rita’s franchises welcomes single-unit investors, but did you know our simple operations and flexible footprints make Rita’s a perfect franchise for a multi-unit strategy? Sean Evans of Dallas and his business partner spotted that opportunity before they even signed on the dotted line.

After 20 years in retail, the last 10 as a district manager for Footlocker, Evans had experience juggling multiple locations. And after delving into the Rita’s brand, he and his partner were convinced that signing a multi-unit deal was the smart decision.

“One of the big things that we were deciding on was, do we want to do more than one? Or do we want to just do the one and see what happens? That kind of thing. But you know, through partnership and conversation with Rita’s, we worked different plans,” Evans says. “They came up with different scenarios: “If you decide to do multi units, here’s how it can look.” You know, it wasn’t like five at a time and boom, there you are with everything happening at one time. It was more like, do the first one and then space them out, open them nine months apart and go after the next one. So on and so on.”

Allowing time to build at a moderate pace with intention “just makes more sense,” says Evans, whose first unit opened in Q1 this year. They are planning to open four more Rita’s locations over the next few years.

How to build multi-unit franchises with Rita’s

We have several advantages when it comes to multi-unit investments. Here are some of the components that make it easier for you to scale a three-pack, five-pack or more with Rita’s Italian Ice:

Flexible footprints. Start with your standard store, with walk-up or walk-in service and potential drive-thru service; then engage with your community through catering; and then consider our mobile program that allows you to grow your business outside your four walls and take the product to the consumer.

Multiple revenue streams. You can cater parties or set up at events year-round, particularly if you have a mobile unit. It provides extra revenue streams and is also a great way to do grassroots marketing, especially in territories where Rita’s is new. And if you operate in an area where you choose to open seasonally, you can still save on labor and utilize the off-season for catering and community events. Many franchisees also spend time in the off-season strategizing for opening their next Rita’s unit.

Simple operations. With just two core products and no cooking, our business is easy to run and operates on high margins. That also makes it easier to train employees, and the fun working environment makes Rita’s an employer of choice for teens and young adults.

A branded cup reads Blendini and has colorful candy nuggets in a pile on one side of the cup and a tuft of pale blue cotton candy on the other. A mixture of those two items with vanilla frozen custard can be seen in the cup.

Our two core products, Italian Ice and frozen custard, are the base of all the unique products we sell.

Unique products draw customers. Rita’s Italian Ice gives customers something new to try. That novelty gives you a major leg up when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. We offer frozen custard, the smoother, creamier version of soft-serve ice cream; and Italian ice, the upscale version of a slushy that’s made with water and real fruit. The cost of goods is low, and the concept is unlike other frozen dessert franchises.

Learn more about our multi-unit opportunities

A unique franchise like Rita’s offers an incredible opportunity to scale up and own multiple units. Please explore our research pages to see what our brand has to offer. You can also fill out the form on this page and someone will be in touch with you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you!

Rita’s Italian Ice could be one of your best bets for 2019

Entrepreneur magazine names frozen desserts as Top Franchise Category, and we’re already one of the best frozen dessert franchises around

A hand holds a Rita’s branded cup with frozen custard swirl on top in front of a Rita’s store.

Frozen desserts are hot. Entrepreneur magazine proclaims the frozen desserts as one of the Top 10 Franchise Categories of 2019.

Entrepreneur magazine has named the frozen desserts segment one of the magazine’s Top 10 Franchise Categories for 2019. The magazine based its ratings by studying industry segments where a lot of franchise growth is occurring.

“Everyone loves dessert, and the category offers prospective franchisees a wide variety of options, including ice cream, frozen yogurt, ices, ice pops, and custard,” Entrepreneur writes. While the magazine also notes that frozen dessert novelties like rolled ice cream are also experiencing a boom, Rita’s has a competitive edge because we’re a well-established concept.

Rita’s truly stands out in the booming frozen desserts category. Bottom line: This is a fun business. It’s a business that’s easy to scale, simple to operate and works either seasonally or year-round, depending on your territory.

The history of the best frozen dessert franchise

Since our humble beginnings as home-based Italian ice business in Philadelphia, Rita’s has developed a strong fan base that has allowed us to grow to more than 575 locations in the United States. Franchise owners in our northeastern markets enjoy the seasonality of the business, which allows them to spend the offseason planning growth strategies and managing the opening of new locations. In warmer climates like Texas and Florida, operators stay open year-round to maximize their revenue earning opportunities.

See where territories are available.

Why Rita’s could be right for you

Three cups of frozen treats with cookie and candy mix-ins in red, white and green are in Rita’s blended cups that say Blendini on them in big black script against a blue swirl.

Blendinis are a delicious blend of our two core products plus fun mix-ins. The unique product offering at Rita’s is a big draw for customers.

Consider our offerings: Italian ice and frozen custard. From those two core products, we have spun out an inventive menu full of creative offerings like the Blendini, which is a combination of Italian ice, frozen custard and delicious mix-ins like crushed Oreo® cookies or candy bars, and the Gelati, which is a dessert of layered Italian ice and frozen custard in flavors of the customer’s choosing.

The streamlined product offering makes operations a breeze, and the simple operations make it easier to hire and train your staff. In addition, our product offerings are so unique that they become a big part of the consumer value proposition.

Learn more

To explore whether this might be the right business opportunity for you, fill out the form on this page to start a conversation. We look forward to hearing from you!

Rita’s franchisees offer up their positive results

From developing young leaders to working in a fun business, Rita’s owners share why they love owning our frozen dessert franchise

Rita’s Italian Ice is a great frozen dessert franchise for a lot of reasons, but sometimes you want to hear more than just the corporate line. When you’re looking into making a six-figure investment, you want to hear the truth straight from those behind the counter. During the due diligence process, you will talk to existing franchisees. Here’s a look at what you can expect to hear:

Three branded Rita’s cups feature, from left to right, a cherry Italian Ice, a chocolate Blendini with cookie bits mixed in, and a lemon Gelato with a swirl of vanilla frozen custard on top.

Rita’s menu is made up of a blend of two core products, Italian ice and frozen custard, making operations simple to run.

The operating costs can be pretty low compared to other work. Where your payroll’s pretty low, your cost of goods is pretty low, and when it comes to the food, it’s less perishable than most items. The shelf life is pretty good and you can get up and running with minimal overhead.

— Tom Kowal, multi-unit owner in New Jersey

I think customers come because Rita’s has a high quality product that tastes good. The frozen custard is an alternative to ice cream but it’s a really good, creamy product. If you have a good location with good service, people enjoy your treat team members. I’ve got a lot of good kids that I think people like interacting with and so they continue to come partly because of that, I believe, and partly because of the product.

— Albert Holley, multi-unit owner in Maryland

Rita’s is great for military guys because they love following policies and processes. With franchises and the way the operations are set up, you really just follow what has been established to help you open up a store. I would advise veterans strongly to look at the Rita’s franchise model because of the discounts that are offered to veterans and the potential for sales, and also having the opportunity to make people smile is a lot of fun.

— Rob Tarr, Area Developer for Alabama

The profit margin is very good compared to other contracts that I’ve been in. The product is a premium product. And people know the brand and love the product.

— Craig Dimes, multi-brand franchisee in Delaware

A group of kids, including a girl hugging a teddy bear, stand in line at a Rita’s walk-up window.

Rita’s is a good investment because compared to some of the other businesses out there, it is generally a fun atmosphere that you’re working in with kids or younger people. The customers or guests that come to the window, as I explain to my kids that work for me on the treat team, you’re not going to find people any nicer. 99 out of 100 people that come to the window have a smile on their face or are positive when they come up to the window. They know what they’re going to get. You just want to keep it that way. You want them to leave with a smile on their face. There aren’t a lot of businesses out there like that.

— Mike Sodi, multi-unit owner in Pennsylvania

Even though we are new to the franchising arena, they’re not taking advantage of that. That is a very satisfying feeling when you can feel like the corporate side of the franchise is also in your corner and not just trying to take your investment and wish you the best.

— Sean Evans, developing multi-unit owner in Texas

Learn more

Whether you want something simple to operate, something that’s easy to scale or just something that’s fun, our frozen dessert franchise could be right for you. To learn more about the Rita’s business opportunity, 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. You can also find more information about our franchise by exploring our research pages.

Rita’s new year will bring new growth, new advantages for franchisees

Our frozen dessert franchise has big plans in store for 2019 with new tech, new footprints and new ways to give franchise owners a competitive edge

Every new year brings with it new possibilities to be better, and we’ve set sights high at Rita’s Italian Ice. As we work toward strengthening our consumer value proposition and ways to increase our customer base, our frozen dessert franchise is launching new initiatives that are also focused on improving our bottom line.

President and CEO Linda Chadwick says Rita’s is looking to add up to 50 new locations in 2019 and broadening our presence in underdeveloped regions. “Some of the territories where we have an emphasis on growth include Texas, Florida, Louisiana, the Carolinas and of course New York, New Jersey and Virginia.”  

Rita’s is upgrading our consumer app and improving our digital presence, incorporating new marketing strategies to make the guest experience more user-friendly.

“We’re rolling out some new flavors and a new product line in 2019, and our focus is all about the family experience,” Chadwick says. “We have some really cool things coming up.”

A pregnant woman and her husband sit cross-legged on the grass with their toddler son between them, all sharing some frozen Rita’s treats.

Rita’s Italian Ice is renewing our focus in 2019 on creating a fun family experience, which will be the driving theme behind our marketing strategies.

Focus on the bottom line

With new leadership positions in franchise development, marketing, IT and overseeing our supply chain, Rita’s is working hard to engineer lower operating costs for our franchisees next year.

One of the exciting new initiatives Rita’s is rolling out in early 2019 is our On The Road mobile vans. A new vendor partnership will allow our franchisees to lease the vehicles with the option to purchase them when the lease expires.

“Once a franchisee gets a shop up and running, this is a great way to expand their footprint and get the Rita’s brand out there so that they can promote their store,” Chadwick says.

Other exciting developments for 2019:

We’ll be implementing mobile platform to boost catering revenue streams called Rita’s On The Road. The platform is designed to help guests more easily book Rita’s for their special events like weddings, bar mitzvahs and festivals.

LINDA CHADWICK

Rita’s will launch our first modular building in 2019, which will speed up the timeline for opening a new shop. The sleek design will have a smaller footprint that will lower overhead costs to help increase profit margins.

“We do really well in a small footprint, and we want to get back to these neighborhood shops, which is so true to how Rita’s was founded,” Chadwick says. “This will also make operations even simpler and more streamlined.

“With our new technology, our new mobile platforms and the smaller footprints with our modular building, this is really a great time to buy,” she says, “particularly for multi-unit investors. We’d love to talk to you about a three-pack or a five-pack.”

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about the business opportunity with our frozen dessert franchise, 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. You can also find more information about our franchise by exploring our research pages.

Rita’s franchise review: Seizing the opportunity in Dallas

Dallas franchisee Sean Evans missed his favorite East Coast brand, so he decided to open up a few of his own in his new hometown.

Dallas has more sunny days than rainy and more hot days than cold. It’s the perfect place for Rita’s Italian Ice to have a large presence. But when Sean Evans and his wife moved from the East Coast to Dallas to be closer to family, he couldn’t help but notice: “Where in the world is Rita’s?”

Now, he and his business partner, a cousin, have signed on to open five shops, with the first location expected to open in early 2019. In this Rita’s franchise review, Evans shares his story.

What were you doing before Rita’s?

My background has been in retail management. I worked for Foot Locker for 20 years; two of those years I worked my way to store manager, and then eight, almost nine years as a manager. Then I spent 10 years as a district manager. So that’s where I kinda got my multi-unit management experience, so to speak. I covered the D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia areas for that company for 10 years, and then we moved to Texas in 2016 to be closer to family.

So, how did you learn about Rita’s?

Well, being from the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic states, Rita’s is a well-known brand there. So when I got here to Texas I just noticed I didn’t see Rita’s. I came home one day and I was talking to my wife and I said, “You know what I haven’t seen since we’ve been here for the last five months?” It was around springtime that it kind of hit me. I was like, “I want some Rita’s.” So we laughed about it and said, “It’d be nice to have one.” And we kind of went on with life.

About four months after that my uncle, who already lives here in Dallas, simply asked me a question. He just said, “Hey, if you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you want to do?” And I gave him my observation about Rita’s, you know, that I hadn’t seen it but that it’s a great product I think would do well in Texas. I think you could open them all year round. I mean, we just had an open conversation about it. Then within a day, little did I know that my uncle already knew that I had a cousin who was interested in investing in the opportunity and loved the idea that I had presented. And he just put us together, and we’ve been walking down this Rita’s road ever since.

We then started to inquire with Rita’s and learned that Rita’s wanted to grow their brand in this part of this country as well. Things started to move forward. So here we are with the rights to five locations.

Four children stand on the grass in the sunshine, with the third girl on the left holding a Rita’s branded cup of frozen custard.

Warm, sunny days and Rita’s Italian Ice are a match made in heaven. That’s why our brand is such a good fit for Dallas.

How closely did you look at the direction of the brand and the leadership? You knew as a consumer you loved the product, but what makes Rita’s a good investment?

One thing that really stood out was the personal touch that Rita’s had once we started to reach out and try to talk to someone. The invited us to tour the headquarters down in Philly. Because for me, Rita’s was easy, but for my cousin — he remembered the brand from when he was younger because he grew up in Philly. But he had kinda lost touch with the brand.

So I believe that the approach they had for someone just trying to find out about the opportunity was fantastic. That gave us peace of mind that the relationship was genuine and that they were really invested in the brand having success. That was big for us. That took us from knowing the brand as consumers to experiencing the brand through a different lens.

What are some of the most valuable things they do to support you?

This is our first franchise opportunity, so we’re really learning as we go along. Every question we’ve had, they have answers. It is a good feeling when the landlord represents something or the broker represents something that, with our infant eyes in this arena, we may not know or catch, but then Rita’s has been on our side and saying, “Hey, you may want to make sure you take a second look at this.”

It’s not just about getting your initial fee and here’s your location and you’re off on your own. At one point, we were doing conference calls every other week. They’re very patient, very partnership-driven to make sure that we feel supported as the franchise owners. So that is a very satisfying feeling when you can feel like the corporate side of the franchise is also in your corner and not just trying to take your investment and wish you the best.

Were there any objections or concerns that you had going in that they were able to help you overcome?

One that comes to mind was the decision of doing one unit vs. multiple units. Because again, being first-time franchise owners, and even though we had my background in operations and there’s marketing background from the other side, one of the big things that we were deciding on was, do we want to do more than one? Or do we want to just do the one and see what happens? That kind of thing.

But through our partnership and conversations with Rita’s, they came up with different scenarios on how it can look if you decide to do multiple units. You know, it wasn’t like five at a time and boom there you are. It was more like, do the first one and then space them out six or nine months apart, and then go after the next one.

A lineup of products in Rita’s branded red-and-green cups.

What would you say draws customers to Rita’s? What makes people love it so much?

I think it is the intentionality of how close they can come to your favorite flavor. You know, whatever your taste buds are telling you that this flavor is gonna taste like when you order it, when it comes to you in that cup, it’s there.

What’s your personal favorite menu item?

For me, it started off as lemon. And then it branched out into blue raspberry. But I’m gonna tell you mango is now my favorite Rita’s flavor. And I didn’t even know that mango was Rita’s leading flavor. It wasn’t until I got to Texas that I realized mango was my new favorite.

Learn more

You can explore more information about our franchise opportunity on our research pages. 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 more Rita’s franchise reviews.