RITA’S ITALIAN ICE Franchise Complaints

The Rita’s Italian Ice franchise has a relatively high SBA loan default rate of 23%.

Rita'sAre you familiar with the Rita’s Italian Ice franchise opportunity? Please share a comment below.

The Rita’s Italian Ice franchise system was sold to private equity group McKnight Capital Partners in 2005. Then in late 2011, investment firm Falconhead Capital bought a controlling interest.

Nearly a quarter of the Rita’s Italian Ice franchise owners who received SBA loans, some of whom may have collateralized their franchise loan with their house or other personal assets, were unable to repay those franchise loans… despite serious incentive to do so.

The Rita’s Italian Ice Franchise has a failure rate of 23% for SBA-backed franchise loans

According to Entrepreneur magazine, the Rita’s Italian Ice franchise system has maintained its size, with 540 U.S. franchises in 2008 and 544 in 2011.  However, that doesn’t mean that franchises didn’t fail during that period (and were replaced by new franchisees) or that Rita’s franchises weren’t resold at a loss to new owners.

Are you familiar with the Rita’s Italian Ice franchise opportunity?

What do you think accounts for the SBA loan failure rate of Rita’s Italian Ice franchise owners?

What steps should Rita’s Italian Ice and Falconhead Capital be taking to stop further franchise failures?

Please share a comment, opinion or insight below.



Tags:  Rita’s Italian Ice, Rita’s Italian Ice franchise, Rita’s Italian Ice complaints, italian ice franchise, water ice, frozen dessert  franchise, food franchise, franchise failure rate, worst franchise, sba failure rates, SBA franchise loans, franchise information, unhappy franchisee, Falconhead Capital

41 thoughts on “RITA’S ITALIAN ICE Franchise Complaints


  • jillian hughes

    my friend and i are compleatly unhappy with your false advetising . As it says in your website open at 11:30 am durning the week we arice her at on time and the doora were locked. We noticed on your sign it says open at 12:00 at the beelin nj location on white horse pike. You need to update youre information
    my address

    thank you
    jillian huges

  • so I spend a lot money every week on ritas and I finally get a buy one get on free coupon so I order 2 qts then when I pay they say its not good for qts.,.. it does not says that no where on the coupon b.s I tell u what cant lose a whole 4 dollors very unhappy

  • Jean Curiotto

    I received a birthday coupon but when I went to print it out it wouldn’t let me. It said I already viewed it so I can’t print it. Please email my coupon. Thank you, Jean Curiotto [redacted]. I go to the Rita’s in Pequannack, NJ.

  • I am so sick & tired of going to Rita’s on Markley st in Norristown pa & they never ever have cheese pretzels why is that? They can’t possibly sell out every single day at all different times

  • Markley st Rita’s in Norristown PA needs to have cheese pretzels they never do & its so annoying

  • I was at the Toms River NJ RT 9 Location. I saw an employee picking his nose. I thought he was a small high school kid.. Little did I know someone told me he was the owner.Of course he filled an order after playing in his nose.. What a slob.

  • Debra Sanders

    Visited Rita’s for Mothers Day in Selinsgrove PA the ice was terrible. was like juice could drink it! Very disappointed spent $9 and will think twice when my granddaughter wants Rita’s again

  • The ritas in Mount Laurel on rt 38 their employees are straight up rude, thats the last time im going there, they have the worse customer service, slam things shut and just terrible.

  • I went to my rita’s in Salisbury md to get my son and I some ice cream the manager rung me up she had charged my credit card for 69 dollars and I went back to complain the manager gave me a full refund the on the 27th when it posted back on my card I was charged another 21 dollar so I go back to rita’s and there’s no management there so the girl Calles the owner and the owner gets on the phone and yells at me and tells me it’s impossible for rita’s to have charged my card twice as I’m showing the cashier where it posted on my credit card the way I was treated by the so called owner of rita’s is sickening when it’s clearly not my fault I feel like this is a scam they have running

  • Ron Johnson

    Don’t get me wrong, I frequent he Rita’s in the Orange County california area, and something I’ve noticed, when Rita’s first opened they served you a decent portion of the delectable treat, here lately though they have Been real chintzy with the portion size…..I have heard others making the same comments. Note to Rita’s….. if your listening … $3.99 for a small cup of custard is starting to make me think about other options….ala… Hagen Daz… For the same price you get a full pint…just something for to think about. Tell the employees to give the customers a portion worthy of the rather lofty price for your treat……

  • Rita’s in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania on N. 5th Street… NEVER has cherry ice. Why? You would think cherry is a pretty popular flavor. I just don’t get it.

  • Mike shinkus

    Need to involve the consumer more developing new flavors. Chip company all ready doing it. I say bacon ice paired with chocolate custard. Bacon ice is my idea. Who does not like bacon. Salty caramel custard would work with bacon ice. My idea.

  • I paid for a large icecream cone and got portion of a medium size. Ripoff in Willingboro, NJ

  • I went to ritas in Brodheadsville, pa against my better judgement with my friend since those young girls are rude. I asked for a childrens custard and she gave it to me in a CUP LID,yes a cup lid and lied to me and told me this was what they use now. I did not say a word and the amount of custard she gave me was not equal to what I would have gotten in your colorful eye pleasing cups. I will never go back there again! I suggest you stop hiring those rude snotnose young people and choose older persons who know how to treat paying customers. by the way when I lived in s. pa. they had a childrens size gelati – after all I have the right to eat that size if I want, no? Lehighton branch served me but not Brodheadsville- they said they were not allowed to make a child size gelati- so now a child is denied the sweet taste of a gelati and is forced to eat and adult decide what you want to do about it but I will not go back there-they might spit in next time they see me. oh by the way I never was rude to them.

  • Joseph Mahma

    Rita’s bonehead customers are so stupid they don’t realize this site is about franchising, and leave the stupidest whiney complaints about their local stores. Idiots above!!!

  • I went to ritas on perkiomen ave. mt. penn and ended up with bad ice cream not custard at the same price. never told they do not serve custard an y more. still adverftise as custard


    I went to Ritas like 5 minutes ago out on 273 in Delaware in the community plaza and I ordered a bendini or however it is spelled. When they handed it to me I looked at it and asked if there was a bigger size. They said there wasn’t. Seriously I am very upset because I am not satisfied with something that is the size of something my son can eat. It’s like a kids size.WTF!!!

  • Raffi Abrahamian

    So after going to the park one day with my niece and nep we decided to try ritas the worlds biggest ripoff had i known price of one damn thing is 4.09 wouldve went to wendys for a frosty more than 4x a frosty from wendys.

  • I got ice cream all over myself because the ice cream melts TOO fast and it was not right to spend $4 on an ice cream that melted right away and i just had to keep licking it so that way it didnt get all over me and it still did!

  • Shannon

    It’s not too enjoyable when you get lemon and eat one of the workers’ fingernails. I highly recommend that if you go to Rita’s, make sure they are wearing some sort of glove. If they aren’t, leave rita’s. Thanks…

  • Damiano

    Rita’s Italian Ice is opening locations in N. California and they are getting 4 and 5 stare ratings on Yelp. I have visited the Castro Valley, San Carlos, Santa Cruz and Vacaville locations all with a positive experience. On opening day, they give out free Italian ice so it is worth the drive for me. So far, Rita’s has been good. I have spoken with several owners and the franchise seems to be a successful endeavor for them.

  • The Rita’s near me is suppose to be open until 10pm but when I visited at 9:15 it was closed. I was told it closes at 9 even though the website states 10. There was a parking lot full of customers and this was a Saturday night. Bad business practice closing early.

  • I love Rita’s but recently went to the Northwood (CLW) location and thought the prices really went up because I ordered 2 large cups with choc/vanilla custard swirl. That’s almost 10 bucks but I don’t make a scene. So I go back to the car and my husband said “I wanted a large”. I told him that is a large. Wow it made us think about not going back. Always got a lot in the other 2 locations in Pinellas but seriously this was shameful. Come on Rita’s a large should have more than a small does!

  • To whom this may concern/Rita’s Ice corporation,

    My husband and I were enjoying a long overdue beautiful day with our son who has autism. When I noticed a Rita’s Ice in a small center on Curry Hollow Rd. and Keeport Dr. in Pittsburgh Pa. My son and I were so excited about trying something new and felt it would be a good place to stop for something to help cool us off. In addition, to hearing how good the flavors were, so we figured we would give it a try.

    My husband and son waited patiently in the car for about 20 to 25 minutes as I waited in a long line in the hot sun. when I finally reach the front of the line an older woman with dark hair and glasses was completing an order, but when I approached the window she walked into a back room at the same time the other window was free, so I allowed the other people to go to the open window where a young man name Jim was working while I waited for the women to return.

    After about 5 minutes I decided to ask Jim if the women went on break, so I could determine whether or not I should get back in line. Jim rudely yelled with his back turned, no she didn’t go on break, just wait a minute as he continued getting his order. I was surprised by his response and facial expression when he decided I was worth looking at. He continued to speak to me in an unprofessional tone, so I said why are you speaking to me that way. He responded because you ask me if she was going on break, just be patient.

    I replied stop talking to me that way because I just asked a simple question. However, he continued to be rude and I felt it was unnecessary, so I left it alone and continued to wait for the woman to return. As she approached the window Jim was in the process of complaining about me to the customers he was serving, he was so loud I could hear as well as other customers who were close to the window. I whispered to the woman my concerns and pointed out how he involved others as if I was not there. She apologized, tried to get his attention to stop talking about it, and then said, maybe he was upset because I left him alone. It was clear she had no control over the Jim or the situation. I was so embarrassed for him, myself, and Rita’s Ice corporation.

    However, Jim continued to humiliate me by loudly speaking about the issue, so the woman asked him to apologize for his actions. He declined at first, but after several attempts to get him to apologize while he complained; he finally walked pass her and yelled with a rude tone; okay fine’, I apologize, without even looking at me. The apology was obviously not sincere. He even spoke to the woman with a very disrespectful tone before and after his apology. The woman tried her best to make me feel better by offering a taste test of key lime ice, but Jim continued with his unbelievable customer service, so at that point I refused to spend my money with this franchise.

    I requested the corporate office number and moved to the side out of respect for the other customers who were waiting in the hot sun as I did. While waiting an older man with grey hair opens an unused window with a sticky note with an 800 number on it. However, when I asked for the name of the person in question (Jim) the man rudely said what did you say, so I repeated it and he replied what did you say, so I asked if he could hear me and miraculously he said if I could hear you I wouldn’t have asked what you said.

    At that point I felt my experience as a customer didn’t matter, so I said never mind. He immediately closed the window as I said thank you. He didn’t ask what the issue was and didn’t care. I waited for the woman to finish with her customer and asked for the name of the person who I thought was just a regular employee and she softly whispered as if she was afraid the words, JIM.

    I felt like although we as customers are the ones who keep the business going the older man would want to know, but he appeared angry by just giving a number just as Jim did when I asked a question. When I got in my car I immediately called the number given in order to file a complaint. I left a voicemail and then decided to reach out to another Rita’s that I found online.

    I spoke with an owner on McNeilly Rd because it was the first on the list from my online search and spoke to Ed (owner) who was very apologetic for what took place and assured me that this is not what Rita’s is about. He described the person I had this encounter with bringing to my attention that it may have been the owners son; which made my experience even worse. He went on to say that because he is the owner’s son he should have conducted himself in better fashion in so many words among some other things.

    In addition, Ed gave me this web address in order for me to pursue my complaint because he felt concern for what I had experience. When I told Ed I would not mention his name; he invited me to use his name and told me how to spell it, although it was obvious. He then apologized for the actions of a franchise he is not affiliated with and invited me to come to his other locations assuring me that if I was treated that way at his locations the employee would be fired because customer service is important to Ed.

    After speaking to Ed I felt better and realized that not everyone at Rita’s hold such anger for something so small as a question and for that reason my family and I will someday experience the taste of Rita’s. Although we were so intrigued; this experience made me feel unwanted and different. I always wondered why children with autism/special needs was treated differently by some people and although I don’t have autism I now know what it feels like to feel invisible for no reason and walking away after waiting so long for something that was unwarranted.

    However, thanks to Ed who advised me to move forward with my complaint; “thank you for your encouragement and patients.” Go see Ed on Mcnielly Rd, Green tree, and other locations because he cares about his customers and some who are not. Ed did not have to listen to me because it wasn’t his problem, but he did anyway and wanted to help me. He is waiting to provide the best customer service possible. Thank you Ed for your time and advice. I hope to meet you someday. Go See ED!
    Note: It was brought to my attention that Jim was the owners son, the woman with dark hair was his mother, and the man who gave me the number was his father. If this is true It explains a lot, but I feel remorse for others like me who may at some point feel the raft of Jim.

    To Jim, my family and I forgive you because forgiveness is more powerful than anger. I hope you find peace within yourself and realize it was just a question nothing more. Whatever you were going through had nothing to do with me, I was just used as a target for your frustration. God bless you!

  • Jacqueline Cole

    Why doesn’t Rita’s have rainbow water ice? They have watermelon for the blacks, vanilla for the whites, mango for the Hispanics but no rainbow for the gays? Ridiculous.

  • I went to Rita’s in my hometown of Dookieville, PA. I ordered a chocolate milkshake and the girl handed me a cup filled with human excrement!!! It wasn’t even cold. Tasted pretty good but would’ve tasted better if it was cold. I complained to the manager and he slapped my face with a dead mackerel, then urinated on me!!! I’ll never go back…well maybe….okay, I’ve been back like 50 times since then!

  • We had the almost the same exact experience at the Rita’s in Dookieville (though with carp, not mackeral).

    We got fed up and now just drive the extra 3 miles to Brownstown. They also are more generous with napkins than Dookieville. See you there.

  • John Connolly

    How on the world does a water and ice cream shop run out of chocolate syrup and lids .when you order at this store they are always out of products and the best is when your by yourself and you order 7 different things and they ask you do you need a lid come on bad management as usual

  • I just went to the Rita’s in Parsippany , NJ and the Italian ice was all melted. Also I was not able to scan my app to get my rewards. There were only two people working and there was a line. Very disappointed . I will not be going back .

  • Steve benson

    First thing is Rita’s is great love it but the size keeps getting smaller just up the price you have a great product

  • Does ANYONE have ANYTHING to say about the franchise on this thread, or it all customer complaints? I wanted to know about the franchise like the article said. Did anybody even read what this thread was FOR! Or is this just a soap box? Ugh

  • John Truth

    If you think about getting into Rita’s your committing financial suicide. Sales are down 6.45 this year. Right now is about 187 K. At company average your losing your pants off. Your chances of losing money is extremely extremely high. The company strategy is to pack them like subway or 7 eleven. 5 miles and you see 5 Rita’s. Your built up is same as other franchise but none have as low average as Rita’s. Example. Tropical Smoothie. 700K average. Rita’s so far 187K this year. That is stinking bad. Ask the company., how many stores close. Now the number store is above 1100., yet there are 600 units. That tells you how many close. They tell you they won’t open anymore in your area. Total 100% lies. They open around your edge., again and again. At 280K your making 30K net. Imagine if yours is 200K average. Your losing money. Why get into Rita’s when you have 10% of actually making money. You been warn by a franchise owner. I hate to file for bankruptcy but I have no choice. My mistake warns others., not to make the same mistake.

  • John Truth

    Signing up with Rita’s is financial suicide. If you do Ok. They will built stores all around your territory until your way below average. They want your store to be family run. They come first. They hope you sell it so they get the resale fee. They are your worst enemy. Example of their inventory cost. Sugar. Outside you can buy 1.59 for 4 pounds. Rita’s charge 2.39. Napkin. Outside is 22 bucks. Rita’s is 59 bucks. Your inventory cost is 38-40 percent. They nickel and dime you to death. They brain wash you by telling you water ice is cheap to make. They inventory cost actually kills you. It is all a lie. If you have 3 stores around your edge of territory what good is your territory??? They destroy your wealth because you will lose all the money you put it to built it. 23% SBA default but a lot more when you consider they put store around you until you failed. Last year they had seventy six store closing and out of business. Do your research. Stay away at all cost. It is a road to losing all your investments. My friend had a heart attack and die due to stress from Rita’s corp. They built a store in a mall near him. The mall store ending up given the store away for free. This is in Glen Burnie Maryland. Ask the Rita’s Corp about that one. Because thats what your future will look like with Rita’s.

  • John Truth

    Rita’s italian ice will make you a slave. Lies they tell you.
    1. Your territory is protected. We not looking to open store near your territory . Truth- They will built all around your edges. They wish you sell so they can get transfer fees.
    2. We care about your profit. More than half is losing money. Just month of September. 9 listed for sale. Just on month of september. There is 12 month. Owners are highly motivated to sale.
    3. Don’t cost much to make ice. Your inventory level is 38. Napkins is 59 dollars a box. Restaurant supplier sales for 22. You are nickel and dime to death with their increases. And you have no say in what they increase. Sugar outside is 1.29 per 4 pound while Rita’s is 2.39 per 4 pounds.
    4. Rita’s sells average has not increase since 2007. While everything increases. Average is around 200k. Five guys average is 900K and Tropical smoothie 700K.
    Conclusion: Signing up with Rita’s does make you a slave. And loses a lot of money. This is the truth.

  • John honest

    Highest failure rates. Looks like Rita’s average are down 5% this year and won’t make average pass 200K. Means only 20% of franchise are making a salary. Quizno’s can’t make it with average sales of 349K. Means this business to be profitable needs to be mom pop and son and daughter work for free. Sign up as a death sentence on your money.

  • John honest

    Do not trust Rita’s sales numbers. They do a projected sale and not a actual sales. As a group of franchise owners believe the number is off by as much as 30%. If the actual sale for the week is 3500 they would listed as 5500. Many franchisees are shock by the number they put out. The average sales is around 170-180 per year. You immediately lose money because your per store cost averages 350K. Since your sale is 170-180K You can only sale your store for that much. Immediate lost of money. And you do work for free because the average sales loses money. If you want to be a slave. Go ahead and open a Rita. Only 30% actually have a profit.

  • Bill

    Looking to invest in a new ritas franchise. I have experience running other businesses and looking for something new. Should I look to purchase a franchise from an individual that is already up and running, or should I open a new franchise in an area that ritas want a new franchise?

  • NowayamI Givingmyrealname

    I would suggest running as far away from Rita’s as possible…find something else. We’re financially ruined as a result and trying to figure out how to get out of it. Stores around us just keep shutting down.

  • Ruined life by Rita's

    John Truth, I own a Rita’s and like you said, you will work as slave for them paying them royalty fees them doing nothing and signing your death sentence. Call me when you get a chance [redacted].

  • Possible Ritas

    I was just looking into buying a Rita’s from someone. There are 2 for sale in my area. I would love to talk more to John or Ruined life by Rita’s. I’m sorry for your experience and stress.

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