Rita’s operates 322 franchises in 11 states along the east coast from Connecticut to Florida and west into Ohio. Under the leadership of Jim Rudolph, who will serve as president and CEO, Rita’s will embark on an aggressive expansion plan that will bring its unique brand of frozen desserts to a wider audience.

The Rudolph family has more than 50 years experience building businesses, including several food franchises. McKnight Capital Partners built Wendy’s of Greater Pittsburgh and several retail affiliates into a 47-store organization with nearly $70 million in annual revenues before selling it to Wendy’s International in 1995. McKnight Capital Partners, which is run by Rudolph and his brother, Bill, has also owned and operated several other franchises such as Chuck E. Cheese and Baskin-Robbins.

“It’s a real honor to acquire Rita’s where it is now,” says Jim Rudolph. “People love this product and want to be part of it. The company is a perfect fit for McKnight with our extensive experience in franchising, commercial real estate, construction, marketing and operations.” Rita’s will continue to be operated as an independent company and remain headquartered in Bensalem.

Rudolph’s effectiveness during his more than 20 years as a hands-on Chairman within the Wendy’s franchise earned him a place in the Wendy’s International Hall of Fame. “It’s ironic that Rita’s, a company operated by two brothers, should be purchased by another pair of brothers,” says Rudolph. “I was impressed with the company’s family focused business philosophy from the first time I visited a Rita’s store in Pittsburgh.”

Rita’s was founded in 1984 by former Philadelphia firefighter Bob Tumolo as a side business. His brother, John, joined the company a year later.