Rita's Italian Ice

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Rita's Franchise Company, LLC
Industry Dessert
Founded May 7, 1984
Founder Bob Tumolo
Headquarters Trevose, Pennsylvania
Number of locations
Key people
Kirk Griswold,
Jeff Moody,
President & CEO
Products Water Ice
Frozen Custard
Parent Argosy Private Equity
MTN Capital
Website ritasice.com

Rita's Italian Ice is a restaurant chain, based in Trevose, Pennsylvania, which sells mainly water ice, frozen custard, and specialty creations.[1]


Rita's was founded in May 1984[2] by former Philadelphia firefighter Bob Tumolo with a recipe that he purchased from an elderly neighbor that he then adjusted to enhance the flavors and include real fruit. Rita's originally advertised its product as "water ice", using the colloquial term for what is sometimes called "Italian ice" in other areas of the country. By 1987 a second store was opened, and in 1989 the family decided to franchise their business. Today, there are over 600 locations in 30 states and the District of Columbia that serve 45000 people daily. In May 2005, the company was sold to McKnight Capital Partners, a private equity group with extensive franchise experience.[3][4] McKnight Capital Partners recognized the organization’s growth potential and set into place plans to take the company to the next level.[1]

In April 2007, Rita's moved its Bensalem headquarters to the Trevose section of Bensalem Township.[5]

In 2011, Falconhead Capital purchased a controlling interest in the company from an investment group led by Jim Rudolph. Falconhead named their operating partner Thomas Christopoul as the new chairman and interim chief executive.[6]

In 2013, Rita's opened its first location outside of the United States in Shenzhen, China.

Rita's has traditionally given out a free regular-sized water ice on the first day of Spring.[7]

In January 2017, Argosy Private Equity and MTN Capital acquired controlling stake in Rita's from Falconhead Capital.[8]


  • Water Ice[9]
  • Frozen custard[10]( Chocolate,Vanilla, Twist)
  • Gelati, water ice in between frozen custard[11]
  • Misto, a drink of liquid custard blended with water ice[12]
  • Blendini, a combination of frozen custard and water ice blended with crushed Oreo pieces, Nilla Wafer pieces, pretzel pieces, Heath (candy bar) pieces, Reese's Pieces, Reese's, M&M's Minis, or Wonka Nerds.[13]
  • Cream Ice[14]( Mint Chocolate-Chip, Birthday Cake, Cookie Dough, Coconut, S'mores, Blackberry-Cheesecake)
  • Slenderita, fat-free soft serve[15]
  • Milkshakes (Oreo Cookies&Cream, Oreo Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Strawberry Short-Cake, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Chocolate Heath, Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry)


In 2010, Rita's Italian Ice began a partnership with Just Born to offer a seasonal Peeps Brand Marshmallow Candy flavored ice.[16] The Peeps flavor was discontinued in 2011, but was offered in some stores in spring 2017.

Rita's partnered with Cadbury in July 2009 to introduce its Swedish Fish Italian ice flavor. On June 29, 2012, Rita's partnered with Cadbury again to release its Sour Patch Kids Red water ice flavor.

Other companies involved in Rita's water ice flavors include Alex's Lemonade Stand ("Alex's Lemonade" water ice) and Nabisco )"Oreo Cookies and Cream" cream ice and "Mint Oreo" cream ice).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hartford, Jamie (September 2009). "Rita's Water Ice Celebrates 25 Years of Success - QSR Magazine". QSR Magazine. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  2. ^ "Rita's Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Giveaways, Politicians". Phillymag. 2014-05-07. Retrieved 2016-03-29. 
  3. ^ Philadelphia Business Journal, May 4, 2005
  4. ^ Pittsburgh Business Times, May 4, 2005
  5. ^ Rita's Franchise Company (2007-04-13). "Rita's Franchise Company - Press Releases Detail - Rita's Italian Ice Set to Relocate its Cool Support Center". Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  6. ^ Associated Press, Bloomberg Businessweek, 1 December 2011. "Falconhead Capital acquires Rita's Water Ice". Accessed 7 December 2011.
  7. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Events & Promotions - First Day of Spring". Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  8. ^ https://www.qsrmagazine.com/news/firms-purchase-ritas-franchise-company
  9. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Cool Treats - Menu - Italian Ice". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  10. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Cool Treats - Menu - Custard". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  11. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Cool Treats - Menu - Gelati". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  12. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Cool Treats - Menu - Misto". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  13. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Menu - Blendini". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  14. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Cool Treats - Menu - Cream Ice". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  15. ^ Rita's Franchise Company. "Rita's Franchise Company - Cool Treats - Menu - Slenderita". Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  16. ^ Huth, Kelly (2010-03-09). "Rita's Italian Ice to offer Peeps-flavored dessert". PennLive LLC. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 

External links[edit]