Rita's Italian Ice has secured a master licensee development agreement for five southern provinces, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hunan, Hainan and Fujian, in the People's Republic of China with Shenzhen Xing He Feng Trade Co. Ltd., an established operator of American food brands in China.
The first location in slated to open in Shenzhen in late July.
"Our latest franchise development is a huge milestone for the 28- year old Rita's brand," said Jonathan Fornaci, chief executive officer of Rita's. "Rita's is poised to grow internationally and we look forward to making our Rita's Ice famous in China too."
Rita's Italian Ice locations in China will feature the same traditional Italian Ice menu, with more than 50 flavors, as well as Cream Ice, Misto Shakes, Gelatis and Blendinis.
"Rita's Italian Ice is a very well-liked and respected brand in the United States and we expect a great reception in China as well," said Xu Xue Ling, chairwoman of Shenzhen Xing He Feng Trade Co. Ltd. "We are very proud to introduce Rita's famous Ice and creamy custard to China."
Rita's is also actively pursuing area development agreements and multiple-unit operators throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Florida, the Carolina's, and the Northeast, and single unit franchisees in the Mid-Atlantic region in the U.S.
Rita's was assisted in the license acquisition by Edwards Global Services Inc., an Irvine, Calif., company that specializes in taking U.S. franchises global.
New peanut butter and jelly flavor
Also earlier this week, Rita's Italian Ice announced a new Ice flavor, Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice made with real strawberries. This new Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice has all the flavor of a real PB & J sandwich and is a limited time offering.
Additionally, Rita's Italian Ice will feature a "Misto Happy Hour" which offers guests 50-percent off all Misto Shakes from 5-7 p.m. beginning today and continuing through May 27.