When dreams to open a top frozen desert franchise come true￼
From Immigrating to the US to saving up for over a decade, Hezrron Gonzales knew he would own a Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard franchise.
Hezrron Gonzales of Edison, NJ, says that from the very first time he visited a Rita’s location, he knew he was going to own one someday. Originally from the Philippines, Hezrron immigrated to the United States in 2006. He began working at a Rita’s in Union County, NJ, where he worked as a manager for ten years. During that entire decade, Hezrron was saving up to buy his own top frozen dessert franchise.
Finally getting the opportunity with a top QSR franchise to own
Hezrron worked hard over the course of his decade-long tenure as a Rita’s manager, learning the ins and outs of the brand’s operations. “I knew this was something I wanted to do, so I attempted to understand everything from the beginning,” Hezrron explained.
Finally, in 2018, Hezrron found out that there was a shop in Toms River, NJ, for sale and he knew this was his opportunity to own the top frozen dessert franchise. Though he missed out on spring and early summer sales by the time his location was up and running, Hezrron was still able to get to know his community as the face of the local Rita’s. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, his location’s sales increased.
Hezrron and his Rita’s team are now respected staples in the community. They sell Italian ice at Toms River East High School football games and even donate 20% of their gameday sales to the high school’s marching band.
“I really like working within the community,” said Hezrron. “Because it’s a small town, it’s as though everyone is rooting for you and what you’re trying to do.”
Owning a top frozen dessert franchise, with a surprise scoop of screen time
Though Hezrron says he knew for a long time that he’d be a Rita’s Franchise Owner, something he didn’t anticipate for his career was that he’d ever end up on a TV show. In early 2022, Hezrron appeared on an episode of CBS’s Emmy Award-Winning series UNDERCOVER BOSS. Rita’s CEO and President, Linda Chadwick, went undercover at Hezrron’s Rita’s location where she learned the ropes serving Italian ice and frozen custard.
While undercover at Hezrron’s location, Linda had to work with an outdated register and a credit card terminal that relied on dial-up internet. She also noticed that Hezrron relied on an old-fashioned Italian ice cart to serve at the high school sports games. The cart didn’t have any type of generator, so Hezrron was never able to stay and sell his frozen treats for too long or they would melt. During her time undercover, Linda could see Hezrron is truly passionate about owning the top frozen dessert franchise and serving his community. At the end of the episode, Linda surprised Hezrron with a mobile event trailer, complete with a freezer and generator, to replace his old-fashioned cart at events. This will allow him to sell larger quantities for longer amounts of time at sporting and other community events. With his new mobile trailer, Hezrron is excitedly preparing for a busy summer ahead of him, serving his community as a top frozen dessert franchise owner.
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