- 2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#473 Not ranked last year
- Initial investment
$278K - $502K
- Units as of 2022
542 5% over 3 years
Rita's Italian Ice is an international chain that offers Italian ice, frozen custard, and other unique creations. The company was founded by a former firefighter, Bob Tumolo, who named it after his wife, Rita. He felt he could improve the Italian ice product. With the help of his mother, he did. Tumolo accomplished his goal, creating what was then called "water ice."
In May 1984, Rita's Italian Ice opened its first store. The second store opened in 1987, and in 1989 the family decided to start selling franchises. Now there are more than 500 locations in multiple states across the U.S. Rita's Italian Ice is a major player in offering specialty sweet treats. These include frozen custard, Italian ice with real fruit, frozen drinks, and much more. Rita's Italian Ice offers many sweet treats, potentially guaranteeing that there is something for everyone.
In 2017, Argosy Private Equity and MTN Capital acquired Rita's Franchise Company. The company continues to search for willing franchisees to expand its reach.
Why You May Want to Open a Rita's Italian Ice Franchise
As one of the company's commitments to the community, Rita's usually gives out free regular-sized Italian ice on the first day of spring. The company typically also gives back to communities every year with fundraising events for sports, health, organization, and school teams.
What Might Make Rita's Italian Ice a Good Choice?
If you consider opening a Rita's Italian Ice franchise, you should make sure you are financially stable enough to cover the initial investment made up of a franchise fee and other startup costs. Additionally, you should prepare yourself for ongoing fees that will consist of royalty fees, advertising fees, and potential renewal fees. Franchisees will also need to meet the company's set net worth and liquid capital requirements.
Typical terms of agreements for Rita’s Italian Ice franchisees last for 10 years. At the conclusion of those ten years, you can seek to renew your franchise for a sum if the franchisor wishes to remain in business.
Rita's Italian Ice is a family-oriented business that generally tries to provide a location for many families to gather. Rita's Italian Ice enjoys being a contributor to their community. They offer birthday parties, large or small. No matter the size, Rita's Italian Ice generally provides the sweets. Rita's Italian Ice usually provides various ice cream choices for their special Party Pack as well.
How To Open a Rita's Italian Ice Franchise
Before making any financial commitment or signing an agreement, you must perform your due diligence and establish if this is the right opportunity for you. Look around your community and decide if they could benefit from the presence of a Rita’s Italian Ice franchise. Are there other companies that specialize in water ice and frozen custard in your area? Does the community seem likely to be accepting of a water ice franchise?
Rita's Italian Ice might require their franchisees to go through a few weeks of training to become an effective part of the team. Rita's Italian Ice is ready to support you with your fresh franchise.
About Rita's Italian Ice
- Related Categories
- Miscellaneous Frozen Desserts, Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream, Ices, Frozen Desserts
- Parent Company
- Rita's Franchise Co. LLC
- Linda Chadwick, President & CEO
- Corporate Address
1210 Northbrook Dr., #310
Trevose, PA 19053
- Franchising Since
- 1989 (2023-1989 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.
This company is offering new franchisees worldwide.
- # of Units
- 542 (as of 2022)
Information for Franchisees
Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Rita's Italian Ice franchise.
Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees
Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.
- Initial Franchise Fee
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
- Initial Investment
- $278,194 - $502,040
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
- Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
- Cash Requirement
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Veteran Incentives
- 20% off franchise fee
Definition: A discount or other incentive offered to military veterans who buy a franchise with this company.
- Royalty Fee
Definition: A ongoing fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis.
What you need to know: Most franchisors require franchisees to pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD. This fee is typically a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales, but may also be a flat weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Ad Royalty Fee
Definition: An going fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis to support advertising or marketing efforts.
What you need to know: This may also be called advertising fee, marketing fee, brand fund fee, and more, but the basic purpose is the same-- to support promotion of the brand systemwide. As with the royalty fee, it is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD, and can be a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales or a weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Term of Agreement
- 10 years
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
- Is franchise term renewable?
Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.
- Third Party Financing
- Rita's Italian Ice has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: startup costs, equipment
Training & Support Offered
Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.
- On-The-Job Training
- 40 hours
- Classroom Training
- 40 hours
- Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-opsNewsletterMeetings & ConventionsToll-Free LineGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresField OperationsSite SelectionProprietary SoftwareFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Co-op AdvertisingAd TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingSocial MediaWebsite DevelopmentEmail MarketingLoyalty Program/App
Additional details about running this franchise.
- Is absentee ownership allowed?
- Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
- Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
- # of employees required to run
- Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Interested in ownership opportunities like Rita's Italian Ice? Request a free consultation with a Franchise Advisor now.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Rita's Italian Ice landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Rita's Italian Ice ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Ranked #473 in 2023
Entrepreneur’s 44th annual Franchise 500® ranking shines a light on the unique challenges and changes that have shaped the franchise industry over the last year—and how franchisors have adapted and evolved to meet them.
Ranked #5 in Miscellaneous Frozen Desserts in 2022
Our annual list of the top restaurant and other food franchises, divided up by category, is the perfect place to start if you’re craving a food-based business opportunity.
Are you eager to see what else is out there? Browse franchises that are similar to Rita's Italian Ice.
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Growth Coach, The
- Business and sales coaching for SMBs
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