Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard is opening its first casino location on Sunday, which is also the first day of Spring. It is at Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
The frozen treat chain now has about 550 locations. More are on the way, with many of the new franchises coming to sites that are not considered traditional for the company. The forthcoming locations could include other casinos, theme parks, and airports, the company said in a statement.
Some 50 additional locations could open this year, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported. The first airport location is to be located at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the Business Journal said. Another upcoming location is at Camden Yards, the home of Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles.
Rita’s also could expand to other Rush Street Gaming locations over the next two years, according to Lori Shaffron, senior director of franchise sales at Rita’s Franchise Company. Casinos make sense as a location for the frozen treat company, Shaffron adds.
Business Model Fits With Casinos
She explained that the price range “fits the budget of many of those visiting casinos, too. It’s a minimal cost for casino-goers to enjoy, whether they win big or not.”
Opening Rita’s first casino location allows the brand to be a part of a new occasion — and offers casino-goers a delicious and inexpensive treat to keep them satisfied while they’re gaming,” Shaffron told Casino.org when asked about the expansion. “There’s flexibility in the Rita’s non-traditional model relative to menu offering and buildouts for compact, high-volume spaces to ensure the business within the casino is set up for success.”
Many casinos nationally are also trying to diversify the patrons coming to casino complexes. Restaurants and entertainment offerings draw a more diverse group than just those who come to gamble.
Rita’s serves Italian ice, gelatis, milkshakes, frozen custard, and various treats designed for take-home desserts. The Italian ice is made fresh each day. The available ice flavors rotate during the week. There are over 90 flavors.
On Sunday, visitors can get a free 7-ounce Italian ice, and purchase other frozen treats at Rivers Casino Philadelphia. To qualify for the complementary treat, patrons must download Rita’s app by Sunday. The offer can be redeemed one time through March 27.
Founded by Retired Firefighter
Rita’s first location was opened in 1984 in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. The founder was Bob Tumolo, a former Philadelphia firefighter.
He opened an Italian ice business on his front porch. The business is named after his wife, Rita.
The operation has expanded since that simple beginning. Franchises are now in 31 states or territories. Pennsylvania, for instance, has 191 locations. Of these, 27 are in Philadelphia.
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