How to gain brand fans in a new market
When you introduce Rita’s frozen dessert franchise in a new territory, our unique products and business model create big advantages. Here’s how to claim your market.
You’re not just opening any old ice cream franchise. You’re opening a Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard, a concept so unique that it clearly stands out from other frozen dessert franchises. Our unique product offering is one of the things that will give you an edge in growing your business.
“Having a Rita’s Italian Ice for the first time is a game changer,” wrote Yelp reviewer Mechelle S. of Roanoke, TX, “in terms of pleasure and enjoyment you get on a super hot July day or any day for that matter. If you have never been here, then you are missing out.”
Opening in a new market
Rita’s has several winning strategies for opening in a new market. For instance, franchisees contribute to a New Store Marketing Program, which funds a customized marketing plan for their shop. The plan may include paid social media, out of home options, broadcast media, SEM, direct mail, digital banner ads, local publications, etc., all targeted at a hyper-local level.
We create a Facebook page as soon as the lease is signed so that we can begin to build awareness through social media within the community. Both our Marketing team and the franchisees have access to post. This page is part of our corporate location structure to ensure a strong branded presence in a new community.
New franchisees begin weekly touch base calls during which we cover a variety of marketing tactics, including:
- Social media recommendations (including Meet Our Treats posts that walk guests through the menu in an engaging and fun manner)
- Utilizing a trade area analysis to identify competitors, targets and affinity drivers
- Engaging with the local chamber of commerce for B2B opportunities and a ribbon cutting/member mixer
- Distribution of coupons in the community (we provide each shop with 2,500 to start)
- Catchy visuals at the shop level, including banners, window clings, etc.
- Sampling at local schools, fairs, festivals and large events (prior to and after opening)
- The use of our Ice Guy Mascot to promote visual branding and community engagement
- Ice drops to local businesses and media outlets
- Hosting a Friends & Family event
Multi-unit franchisee Sean Evans grew up out East, so he didn’t have to be sold on the product. But when he and his wife moved to the Dallas area, they missed their favorite Philly-based frozen treat. Opening a string of locations here just made sense. He and his business partner, a cousin, bought the rights to five Rita’s units in the Dallas area, with the first one expected to open this spring.
Rita’s franchising team has been very patient with the first-time franchisees, addressing every concern and answering every question.
“We’re bringing a great product into a new arena,” Evans says. “So even though we know the product is great, what’s going to make it great for someone else that doesn’t know anything about it? I think you have to be willing to get the samples out there, work hard to get people to experience the product. Even if that means that it might be free at an event.”
Satellite options, such as food trucks, help you build your brand
If you’re thinking of introducing Rita’s in an underdeveloped market, we can help you introduce this unique and beloved product to a lot of people without having to build multiple stores immediately.
One of the ways you can do this is by building up satellite locations. As a franchisee in a new market, you can treat your first retail location as your base of operations. By opening up satellite units such as a kiosk or a food truck, you can efficiently increase your revenue streams while you spread brand awareness.
Getting involved in your community, attending community events and offering free samples, as Evans notes, is also an effective way to let people know about your business. You’ll also have access to a business coach who can guide you through our marketing materials and determine the best way to share promotions in your area.
This will be a big year for Rita’s as we strive to grow our frozen dessert franchises into new and underdeveloped markets. To find out about our brand, please explore 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.