Rita's Franchise Owner, Steve Wilkos, serving customers

Multi-Unit Franchise Owner Spotlight: Steve Wilkos

Rita's Franchise Owner, Steve Wilkos, serving customers
Steve and his family

Before entering the world of franchising and owning a top frozen dessert franchise, Steve Wilkos of Indiana comes from a long background of working in corporate retail. His corporate experience in buying, merchandising and operating came in handy later in life when he and his family decided to become Rita’s Italian Ice & Custard Franchise Owners.

Steve and his wife wanted to teach their high school-age sons important professional skills and show them just what it took to run a business. The family sat around the table and came up with a plan to become Franchise Owners. Steve was familiar with Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard as the top frozen dessert franchise because he himself was a customer in the ‘80s, growing up on the Jersey Shore. The brand was appealing to Steve and his family because it was seasonal, well-known, it didn’t require complicated equipment and of course, it’s a top QSR franchise to own!

A headache-free multi-unit franchise opportunity

Rita's frozen treats

The process to become a Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard Franchise Owner was simple for Steve. He first met a Rita’s Franchise Development Representative over the phone for an introductory call. When he liked what he heard in that call, Steve began visiting other nearby Rita’s locations and meeting with Rita’s Franchise Owners to learn about their experiences. Though there were other locations in Indiana, Steve liked that the market wasn’t oversaturated like it was with other brands.

After meeting with the entire Rita’s Management team, Steve was convinced that this was the top frozen dessert franchise option for him and his family.

Steve took his time doing research on real estate options and after almost two years, he found the perfect high-foot traffic spot with a walk-up window. He signed on as a Franchise Owner in January 2020.

Feeling at home with the top frozen dessert franchise

Walk up window at Rita's location

For the first six months of Rita’s franchise ownership, Steve and the Wilkos family worked constantly on getting operations going and getting a good team together. Steve used his staffing experience from his corporate days, and hired 21 high school-age employees, six of them being managers. His own two kids continue to play an integral role in the day-to-day Rita’s operations, even offering suggestions for improvements.

When asked if he wishes he would’ve taken the leap with the top frozen dessert franchise sooner, Steve says yes. It’s been an excellent learning process and he whole-heartedly feels that he got the support he needed from the Rita’s Corporate team.

“The Rita’s Corporate team has been supportive through the entire process,” said Steve.

With multiple more locations already on Steve’s mind, he has the best of both worlds; Corporate is just a call away, and he still gets to be his own boss. When he’s not working alongside his family and team members at his Indiana Rita’s location, you can catch Steve enjoying a Mudslide Concrete!

If you are interested in owning the top frozen dessert franchise, just fill out the form below.

This information is not intended as an offer to sell a franchise. We will not offer you a franchise until we have complied with disclosure and registration requirements in your jurisdiction. Contact Rita’s Franchise Company, LLC, located at 1210 Northbrook Drive, Suite 310, Trevose, PA 19053 to request a copy of our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). RESIDENTS OF NEW YORK: This advertisement is not an offering. An offering can only be made by a prospectus filed first with the Department of Law of the State of New York. Such filing does not constitute approval by the New York Department of Law.