Industry News | May 5, 2008

Trufoods Acquires Ritter's Frozen Custard

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Ritter’s Frozen Custard, the Indianapolis-based ice cream chain, was acquired by Trufoods, LLC. on April 29. As the first acquisition under Andy Unanue, Trufoods’ new chairman and CEO, Ritter’s represents the opportunity for Trufoods to establish itself as a noteworthy force in the franchising industry.

“I am pleased and honored to announce that Ritter’s has been acquired by Trufoods, LLC. After many months of conversations about our opportunities and successes, we feel that Trufoods and Ritter’s will make a great team moving forward,” says Bob Ritter, Ritter’s president and CEO. As a result of the acquisition, Ritter will be transitioning into a development role, working with franchisees on the local level to explore how to best grow the Ritter’s brand.

“Trufoods believes that successful franchising is a partnership between headquarters and owner/operators. We saw a lot of value and growth potential in Ritter’s and thought it would be a great addition to our growing portfolio of brands,” says Unanue. “The tradition Bob Ritter and his family built was extremely appealing to us and knew that a brand with a history like theirs had no where to go but up.”

Trufoods plans to keep the Ritter’s office in Indianapolis and the majority of their staff will be kept in tact.

“This acquisition allows Ritter’s the opportunity for tremendous growth. Right now we would like to focus on expanding in the state of Indiana, concentrating on the many county seats throughout the state,” says Ritter.

Though Unanue only acquired Trufoods in November of 2007, his experience in the food industry is anything but limited. Unanue’s grandfather was the first individual to manufacture and distribute Hispanic foods in the U.S.--a business that is now known as Goya Foods and produces sales of over a billion dollars per year. Unanue served as the company’s chief operating officer for many years.

Trufoods LLC owns and operates some of the most highly-regarded food franchise names in America, including Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips, Pudgie’s Famous Chicken, and Wall Street Deli and specializes in revitalizing great American brand names for a new generation to enjoy. With roughly 100 locations nationwide, annual system-wide sales are approximately $40 millio--numbers Unanue hopes will only increase under his leadership.

“It’s my hope to grow all of Trufoods’ existing brands organically, doubling or tripling our number of units over the next five years,” says Unanue. “My immediate goal is to bring Wall Street Deli’s presence back to the Northeast then focus on growing the Ritter’s, Pudgie’s, and Arthur Treacher’s brands in markets where they already have existing locations. Nationwide expansion is our long-term goal but by starting out in markets where these concepts already have strong brand recognition, we will have a better idea of what products and initiatives would be most effective in the future.”

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