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How to Open Rita’s Italian Ice Franchise [Cost, Fees, Requirements]

Rita’s Italian Ice is a global store that specializes in Italian ice, chilled custard, and other distinctive desserts. Bob Tumolo, a veteran firefighter, established the business and named it after his wife, Rita. He believed he can enhance the Italian ice product.

Tumolo achieved his dream by establishing what became known as “water ice.” Rita’s Italian Ice launched the first ever location in May 1984. The 2nd store was launched in 1987, and the family opted to sell franchises in 1989.

Rita’s Italian Ice is a well-known provider of highly specialized sweet treats. Cold custard, Italian ice with fresh fruits, premixed drinks, and many other items are available at the franchise.

Rita’s Italian Ice appreciates giving back to the community. The franchise has distinct products, a devoted following, and a straightforward operating model designed for expansion. When customers walk into Rita’s Italian Ice location, they understand they’re in for a treat. They are greeted with colorful grins and vibrant colors, as well as a cornucopia of icy goodness.

Rita’s franchisees have been prospering for more than 3 decades. Their winning strategy is straightforward: Incorporate distinctive frozen treats and friendly service with a devotion to community engagement — and observe the grins spread! Rita’s upfront costs might be very low, particularly when likened to other food service franchises.

Cost, Fees, and Requirements to Open a Rita’s Italian Ice Franchise

The projected startup cost for numerous development choices are listed below.

  • Initial Franchise Fee: $35,000
  • Lease Deposit: $0 – $11,000
  • Leasehold Improvements: $50,000 – $241,671
  • Equipment: $60,928 – $120,000
  • Permits & Licenses: $685 – $10,000
  • Signs & Awnings: $3,000 – $22,390
  • Insurance: $200 – $3,500
  • Initial Order: $8,000 – $17,500
  • Minimum New Shop Marketing Expenditure: $12,000
  • Training: $50 – $5,000
  • Architect and Attorney Fees: $5,000 – $20,000
  • Additional Funds (3 months): $20,000 – $30,000

TOTAL: $194,863 – $528,061

Benefits of Opening a Rita’s Italian Ice Franchise

There are lots of advantages to acquiring this franchise in the United States. They are as follows:

  • Cost-effective Business Model: Rita’s has more than 600 stores globally and has remained a successful brand for more than 3 decades. When business owners analyze Rita’s and make a comparison with similar businesses, one of the most notable differences is the convenience at which franchise owners can increase operational processes.
  • Minimal costs and simple operations: Even though they provide a wide range of recipes, their food products are mostly made up of Italian ice, custard, or combinations of the two. There is no cooking, therefore there are no vent hoods to wipe down or grease traps to handle. Since the list of ingredients is brief, there would be little stock of goods to handle and even less waste.
  • The Yearn Effect – It is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Rita’s franchisees who conduct business in seasonal market sectors stand to gain from any of this impact. Since it isn’t accessible all year round, its something you can seriously look forward to, and you understand that even when Rita’s begins, spring, beautiful weather, and summer holiday are all on the way.

How to Buy a Rita’s Italian Ice Franchise

  • Fill out Rita’s Confidential Application.
  • Examine Rita’s Franchise Disclosure Document, or “FDD.”
  • Complete proper research by speaking with current franchisees.
  • Take part in a functional interview with Rita’s Franchise Service Manager.
  • Take part in a conference call with Rita’s Senior Vice President of Franchise Sales to discuss the selection process and timeline.
  • Attend the discovery day and actually get to know Rita’s franchise selection committee.
  • Sign franchise contracts.
  • Start site screening and lease negotiations.
  • Start work and train your employees.
  • Open your store and organize your grand opening celebration.


In addition to ice, Rita’s Italian Ice serves frozen custard, gelato, milkshakes, frozen drinks, sundaes, and other frozen treats. The company, which began on a front porch in Philadelphia in 1984, has evolved into one of the nation’s newest and rapidly developing franchise philosophies, with possibilities all over the nation and around the world.