Rita’s Italian Ice To Open 40 Shops And Drive-Thrus

Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard is set to expand its presence with 40 new locations and a new product line this year. The Trevose-based company will be making its way into Missouri and strengthening its hold in the Midwest, including in states such as Illinois, Texas, and Oklahoma.

While Rita’s is primarily a regional brand, CEO Linda Chadwick noted that the company has been experiencing steady growth along the southern stretch of I-95.

Rita's Italian Ice To Open 40 Shops And Drive-Thrus

Rita’s Italian Ice To Open 40 Shops And Drive-Thrus

In an article with the Philadelphia Business Journal, Chadwick said, “We’re selling a lot of license agreements [to] franchisees that are from this area that have moved down to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida [and] are really building strong.”

Many don’t know but Rita’s stores are 100% franchisee-owned, and currently there are located in 31 states with over 550 stores.

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Rita’s will also continue its focus on adding drive-thru service, with about one-third of the new stores expected to offer this new feature. As demand in drive-thru’s increased during the pandemic, Rita’s wanted to provide a new option for customers.

One of the new locations, scheduled to open in New Jersey by the end of April, will become a flagship outpost for the brand. Rita’s also plans to open more non-traditional stores in places like casinos, airports, and amusement parks where it sees fitting opportunities.

Two non-traditional shops that the brand opened last year in Rivers Casino Philadelphia and at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have performed well, operating under extended hours that are atypical of a Rita’s location.

Locations aren’t the only things expanding this year.

As part of its 31st annual First Day of Spring celebration on March 20, Rita’s will introduce a new Gummy Bears flavor along with the free Italian ice it typically gives away for the occasion.

The brand will also debut more new flavors this summer and a frozen coffee line in April, which was tested at several stores last year.

On a side note, when will Rita’s start selling soft pretzels with their water ice? (Who else dips pretzels into their water ice?)

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