Rita's Italian Ice

Rita's Italian Ice

Italian ice and frozen custard
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2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#473 Not ranked last year
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Initial investment
$278K - $502K
Units as of 2022
542 5% over 3 years

Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Rita's Italian Ice franchise.

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.

Find Your Perfect Franchise

Company Overview

About Rita's Italian Ice

Parent Company
Rita's Franchise Co. LLC
Linda Chadwick, President & CEO
Corporate Address
1210 Northbrook Dr., #310
Trevose, PA 19053

Business Overview

Franchising Since
1989 (34 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
Initial Investment
$278,194 - $502,040
Net Worth Requirement
Cash Requirement
Veteran Incentives
20% off franchise fee
Royalty Fee
Ad Royalty Fee
Term of Agreement
10 years
Is franchise term renewable?
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Financing Options


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-ops
Meetings & Conventions
Toll-Free Line
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
National Media
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed?
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Can this franchise be run part time?
# of employees required to run
Are exclusive territories available?
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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.

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company’s legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022