Rita's Italian Ice

A Bright Idea

America is sweet on citrus—even the sour varieties.

Restaurant operators and chefs are increasingly using
oranges, lemons, limes, and other citrus items to liven up their menus with a fresh taste.

If there’s one word that seems to sum up citrus’ taste profile, it’s bright.

“Citrus is incredibly popular because it is so aromatic and has those bright and fresh notes,” says Kevan Vetter, executive chef and manager of culinary product development for seasoning giant McCormick & Co. “It really gives you a pop.”

Rita’s Releases First National TV Spot

Rita’s Italian Ice, the nation’s largest Italian Ice concept with more than 550 stores in 18 states, will celebrate its 20th annual first day of spring and Free Ice Giveaway on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. Additionally, Rita’s Ice will debut its first-ever national television commercial for the brand on March 20.

In celebration of this 20th annual milestone, all guests who visit their local Rita’s Italian Ice on Tuesday, March 20–the first day of spring–will receive a free Regular Ice of their choice.

New Rita's Leaders Plan to Turn It Into Major East Coast Brand

Private equity firm Falconhead Capital acquired a controlling stake in Rita's Water Ice Franchise Company, and the interim CEO says the firm plans to grow Rita’s into a major East Coast brand.

Thomas Christopoul, an operating partner at Falconhead and now chairman and interim CEO of Rita's, says Rita’s product and following helps it stand out among dessert competitors.

Rita's Keeps Up Charity Work, Now With Texting Help

Rita’s Italian Ice is continuing its partnership with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) for a sixth consecutive year. But this year, Rita’s consumers will have a new way to donate to the pediatric cancer research foundation: by text-messaging through their phone.

Throughout the month of June, Rita’s customers can donate to ALSF by purchasing a paper lemon for $1—which can be customized and posted to that store’s “Wall of Hope”—or they can text “ALEX” to 85944 for a one-time donation of $5.

Leveraging Franchisee Diversity

Quick serves could be poised to step up their franchising efforts as soon as the credit market thaws and while available real estate remains cheap. Some experts say that minority-franchisee recruitment will be a particular area of focus, as franchisors pursue the value minorities bring to customer relations, new product innovation, and new markets.