Today Is Free Water Ice Day At Rita’s

Rita’s mascot

Photo: Dan McQuade

The best water ice flavor available to the Rita’s connoisseur is Swedish Fish.

No, I don’t care what you say. You’re wrong. We’ve already tested them all, subjected them to taste tests, polled respondents and did everything else that amateur scientists must do when coming up with a ranked list of every kind of anything. And when it came time to choose the best flavor, I threw all that data away and chose Swedish Fish because I like it best. Because I am basically a sticky-faced 11-year-old boy stuck inside the body of a grown-ass man and I ain’t changing.

Anyway, we’ve got a ranked list of Rita’s Water Ice flavors, and since today is Free Water Ice Day at Rita’s (it being the first day of spring and all), we figured today would be a good day to trot it out. You should read it. Like right now. Because science. And because the free water ice promotion ends at 9pm tonight.

Ranked: Rita’s Water Ice Flavors [f8b8z]

Rita’s Chain Sold for Third Time Since 2004

ritas-ices-ranked-940

Popular water ice and custard chain Rita’s will once again be under new ownership. Argosy Private Equity, of Wayne, and New York’s MTN Capital on Tuesday announced plans to buy a controlling stake in Rita’s Franchise Company LLC.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Jeff Moody will remain president and CEO of the Trevose-based company.

And as the Inquirer points out, the deals builds on Rita’s growing history of acquisitions — the third time since 2004 that Rita’s has been purchased by private investors. Read more »

Rita’s Expanding to Gas Stations, Convenience Stores

Rita's has launched a bold new business model.

Rita’s has launched a bold new business model.

Rita’s Italian Ice unveiled plans to have a presence in convenience stores, gas stations and travel plazas around the country. Rita’s will operate inside existing convenience stores, much like Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts already do in the area.

Plans call for 60 new units by 2025 with 10 by the end of this year. The first one opened last month in Newbury Park, Calif. Read more »

Rita’s Halts Custard Sales as Egg Prices Soar

ritas-custard-400An outbreak of Avian Flu has sent egg prices skyrocketing and has led businesses to reassess their egg dishes as the price of eggs has nearly tripled. At Rita’s, the frozen treat chain has begun substituting egg-free soft-serve ice cream in place of its frozen custard, which relies on eggs for its creamy flavor and texture.

According to an FAQ on Rita’s website, Rita’s soft-serve ice cream will replace custard in all the chains signature Blendinis, Mistos and Gelatis.

Read more »

Philadelphia Runner Wants to Buy You Rita’s Tomorrow for National Running Day

Photo via Facebook

Photo via Facebook

Tomorrow is National Running Day, folks. We already told you about the free beer/shoe donation shindig with Run215 and the November Project, but if you’re looking for something a little sweeter, Philadelphia Runner will buy you a Rita’s water ice for joining them on a three mile run tomorrow evening. Because there’s no such thing as too many freebies, am I right?  Read more »

Rita’s Water Ice Opens In China

ritas-water-ice-chinaIf you happen to be vacationing in Shenzhen, China anytime soon, you’ll be able to enjoy a taste of home. The Trevose-based water ice chain Rita’s just opened its first location in the People’s Republic.

The shop is the first of 31 Rita’s stores that the company plans to open over the next decade there.

“It took forever–like nine months–to get the product through customs,” explains Rita’s spokesperson Linda Duke. “They just got the product last Friday and opened yesterday.”

Duke says there are no funky Chinese-inspired flavors being offered. Just the normal, time-tested options like lemon, cherry and mango, Rita’s top seller.

2014 will mark the company’s 30th year in business. Also on the horizon for Rita’s world domination: India, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Canada.

Is A Florida Business Making Fake Rita’s Water Ice?

Yes, it’s not hard to find Philly expatriates in sunny places, each of them with a thirst for an old favorite: Rita’s Water Ice. It’s why the company is granting new franchises to California owners for this spring and summer. But now the company is suing a Florida franchisee it says made and sold “wooder ice” and custard under Rita’s name—even though Rita’s recipes and mixes aren’t being used.

The Pennsylvania Record reports:

Rita’s Water Ice Franchise Company filed a lawsuit April 17 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Annie L. Bobenreith, Keith E. Bobenreith and Ronald Henkel.

In its complaint, Rita’s alleges it has discovered that the Bobenreiths have continued to sell unauthorized products, such as custard, bottled water and waffle cones, under Rita’s name, even though the company has prohibited the defendants from doing so.

The Bobenreiths own the Rita’s franchise, it seems, but Rita’s officials have determined ” that the defendants were using non-authorized items under the guise of Rita’s products.” Rita’s served a notice that it was terminating the franchise with the Bobenreiths, according to the suit, but the owners refused to take down Rita’s signs or abide by a non-compete clause in the franchise agreement: The family is accused of starting a new business, “Aloha Ice,” using information learned while running the Rita’s franchise.

It’s complicated. All we know is this: If you want real Rita’s, come home to Philly.

Rita’s Water Ice Opens California Locations

Via the Philadelphia Business Journal, Rita’s Water Ice—that mainstay of Philadelphia summer culture—has opened two new California locations, in Santa Clarita and Redondo Beach. Redondo Beach Patch reports the stand there was opened by Joshua Pascua and Jake Cosme, friends from junior high:

“It’s been pretty euphoric,” Pascua said Sunday at a preview party for friends, family and media.

Cosme first discovered Rita’s while attending the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. and later introduced Pascua to the world of water ice and custard. After both men got out of the Marine Corps, they decided to go into business together.

“It’s been a blessing that we found Rita’s when it was expanding to the West Coast,” Cosme said.

The only question, as the Biz Journal’s Peter Van Allen asked, is this: Will they call it “wooder” ice on the beach?

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