From your first phone call to cutting the ribbon at your Grand Opening, here’s your journey to becoming a Rita’s franchise owner

Double lines of people are queued up at a Rita’s. Red, white and green bunting hangs over the parking lot, and red and green balloons are seen in the background.

In the age of Google, shopping for a franchise is nothing like it was 20 or even 10 years ago. By the time the next Rita’s franchise owner contacts someone on our Franchise Development team, there’s a good chance he or she has already done quite a bit of research.

So if you’re thinking of owning a Rita’s Italian Ice franchise, there’s a good chance you’ve already figured out your “why.” What you may not know yet is just what happens to get from point A to point Z. Lori Shaffron, Senior Director of Franchise Sales, sheds a little light on the subject.

“We do an introductory call, and on that first call I talk about the time frame,” Shaffron says. “We have a conversation and I learn about them and what their values are and what they’re trying to achieve. I want to know what’s important to them.”

The prospective buyer fills out a questionnaire (our minimum requirements are $100,000 in liquid assets and a $300,000 net worth), and we send over our latest Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Although some may want to review the document with their lawyer or financial advisor, Shaffron schedules another call to go over it with them.

“People can get intimidated by the FDD,” she says. “They don’t understand it sometimes if they’re new to franchising. I like to call them and walk them through it.”

Getting a feel for the franchise

Shaffron also sets up a call between the franchise candidate and someone on our Operations team so they can get a good feel for what it’s like for a Rita’s franchise owner day-to-day. If the candidate wants to talk to other Rita’s franchisees for validation, Shaffron provides a contact list.

What she won’t do is the hard sell. It’s an outdated way of selling anything, much less franchises. Rita’s is proud of our operational excellence, our brand recognition, our leadership and our unique, superior product line based on delicious frozen custard and Italian ice.

“By the time candidates call, most of them have already done their due diligence,” Shaffron says. “They know that this is what they want to do. They’ve done their homework.”

We run a credit check and a background check on all candidates, and then we schedule a day for them to fly to our headquarters in Trevose, Pennsylvania, to meet the team. The candidate gets time with leaders from each department, learning more about the ins and outs of Rita’s franchise, and how everything interconnects. They have time to ask any lingering questions.

This is where the sign-on-the-dotted line decision is made, and this is where it starts to get exciting. Things can move quickly, but Rita’s is right there every step of the way. In fact, every candidate gets assigned to their own fairy godmother or fairy godfather, as Shaffron likes to say — aka their personal business coach.

“They know who to go to. The have their fairy godmother or fairy godfather to answer any questions, and they don’t get the runaround trying to find the right person,” she says.

“Then I direct them to the real estate team. They help scout out a location with a broker and help negotiate a lease with them. Now they’re working with their personal coach to follow every step that needs to be followed — construction, permits, whatever they have to do.”

A short leap to a Spring 2020 opening

So, if you were to contact Lori Shaffron one day this August, could you really be a bona fide Rita’s franchise owner by March 19, 2020, the first day of spring?

“Absolutely, yes,” says Shaffron. “One hundred percent.”

It’s your call

Are you ready? Would you like to talk through the particulars? Give us a call at 800-677-7482 or fill out a form to get access to franchising details. We look forward to seeing you at your very own Spring Grand Opening!