Rita's Italian Ice Franchise

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Detailed Information

Capital Required
$125,225 - $430,900

Liquid Capital

Net Worth

Financing Assistance
Available Via Third Party

Training and Support

Initial Franchise Fee

CEO Name
Linda Chadwick

Existing Units



Rita's Italian Ice is also known under the business names of Rita's Water Ice Franchise Company, LLC, Rita's Franchise Company, and Rita's Ice-Custard-Happiness. Since the late 1980's, Rita's has operated ice-cream stores specializing in frozen custard and Italian ices, with the addition of various other menu items. Rita's offers a variety of options for franchisees to develop their businesses, including multi-unit franchises, store operations and mobile carts for sales at events. Rita's has locations throughout the United States. The company prides itself on its strong brand and high-quality product.

Why Choose Us?

Rita's has a strong brand voice and a distinctive product focus. In comparison to other food service franchises, operating a Rita's is relatively simple, as business owners do not have to cook or purchase a variety of food preparation equipment. In locations with cold seasons, many Rita's stores also operate seasonally, closing during the cold months. This gives owners the time to pursue other endeavors, upgrade or expand facilities, or just prepare thoroughly for opening.

Rita's also offers various options for franchisees. Franchisees can open a walk-in store, or a smaller, walk-up Express Unit. Rita's franchisees can also operate a mobile unit, allowing them to sell products at community events, fairs and parks.

Due to its specific focus on frozen custard and water ice, Rita's emphasizes high-quality ingredients, which it sources from trusted vendors. Rita's water ices continue to be made with fresh fruit, just as they did when the business opened in 1984.

Ideal Candidate

Rita's prefers franchisees bring some food service experience to the table, although it is not required. The franchise does look for people who are passionate and energetic, and who are ready to engage in community outreach, partnering with local institutions. Rita's also encourages franchisees to open multiple locations.

The company projects the total investment as ranging from $125,225 to $430,900. Franchisees of Express Units can expect to spend on the lower end of this range, while expenses for store owners would tend towards the high end. The initial franchise fee is $30,000 for stores and $15,000 for express units. Rita's also requires a minimum liquid capital amount of $100,000 and a minimum net worth of $300,00.


Rita's was founded in 1984 when retired firefighter Bob Tumolo began selling Italian ice in Philadelphia, where this product was also called water ice. He opened a second location in 1987, and the company began franchising in 1989. In 2013, Rita's began its international operations by franchising a location in China. Currently, Rita's is actively working to continue its expansion and to open new locations in states that have not yet been developed.

Today, Rita's continues to center its menu around two core products: frozen custard and water ice. The brand's 30-year history and commitment to high-quality product continue to make it a popular choice for customers seeking a refreshing ice cream treat.

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