Rita’s Italian Ice, the world’s largest Italian ice concept with more than 600 stores, opens 2015 with growth both at home and abroad as it awards its fourth international master franchise agreement and builds upon its stadium presence in the United States.

“We were laser-focused on growth in 2014,” says Eric Taylor, chief development officer of Rita’s Italian Ice. “We’re proud to be officially entering the Middle East and introducing this beloved 30-year-old brand and its philosophy of ‘ice, custard, and happiness,’ to an entirely new group of consumers.”

Rita’s awarded an international master franchise agreement to Eathos, a Dubai-based corporation led by Faysal Younes, for the development of more than 46 stores across Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The plan is expected to be fully executed within 10 years and bring hundreds of jobs to the Middle East. The first location is anticipated to open in the summer of 2015 in Dubai.

“We’re excited to introduce the concept of ‘ice’ to the Middle East and are proud to do so with Rita’s Italian Ice,” says Faysal Younes, CEO of Eathos. “The warm climate makes the Middle East a natural market for Rita’s cool treats, and we have no doubt that it will be a huge hit now and for years to come.”  

“What a way to begin the year,” says Jeff Moody, CEO at Rita’s Italian Ice. “We set out in 2014 with a keen eye on international expansion and in one year alone we’ve awarded two international master franchise agreements, all while sustaining incremental growth in the U.S. We’re looking forward to continuing that pattern of growth and momentum into 2015 while maintaining our high standards for service and quality.”

While Rita’s has been orchestrating extraordinary international expansion, it has also been growing its domestic footprint with the addition of stadium locations. Since first entering stadiums in 2012, Rita’s has grown its stadium presence to nearly 10 locations and plans to double that number in 2015. Rita’s current partnerships include: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.; Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.; Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia; Consol Center, Pittsburgh; PNC Park, Pittsburgh; Verizon Center, District of Columbia; Pepsi Center, Denver; and Petco Park, San Diego. Rita’s stadium locations offer limited menu, but include fan favorites such as Italian ice, frozen custard, Rita’s signature layered treat, Gelatis, and custard cookie sandwiches.

"Bringing Rita's into the professional sports venue space aligned well with their aggressive franchise-growth strategy,” says Ralph Vuono, vice president of 16W Marketing, a full-service sports marketing company working with Rita’s on its professional sports partnerships. “The team and venue partnerships provide Rita's with a unique opportunity to reach their customer beyond their local franchise locations and has quickly become an attractive dessert option to professional teams and stadium concessionaires.”

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