Ritter's Frozen Custard Sees Renewed Growth With Strip Center Design, New Leadership Team
May 13, 2005 // Franchising.com // INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - Round pegs don't fit into square holes, it's an age-old dilemma. Known for its iconic, round-shaped ice cream Shoppe, Ritter's Frozen Custard has found a way to put a round building into one that's square by introducing a "strip center" in-line Shoppe typical with all the nostalgic and familiar feel of the original model.
The strip center in-line Shoppe pays homage to the signature round Ritter's design by incorporating a curved counter and matching blue awning-like header, which gives the customer the impression they are standing at the famous white and blue round building developed by Ritter's founder, John Ritter in 1989. Even the freezer displays, with blue and white awnings have the feel of the original's umbrella shaded picnic tables. Signage and posters with product shots have a "retro" look as well and the employee uniform consisting of the blue Ritter's apron and Gatsby-style hat conveys that "old-time feel."
"Our goal with the strip center prototype was two-fold," said Bob Ritter, President and CEO of Ritter's Frozen Custard. "We are making the Ritter's brand more appealing and dynamic to customers and prospective franchisees alike, while also keeping the nostalgic look and feel and familiarity of our original locations."
Multi-concept franchisee Pamela Billow in North Las Vegas was one of the first to buy into a Ritter's strip center model. "In Las Vegas where summer temperatures in the middle of the day can exceed 100 degrees, we needed to be able to bring the concept indoors," said Billow. "After visiting the original round Shoppe in Indiana and seeing the concept drawings of the strip center design, it really has the Ritter's look turned outside in."
Ritter's recently added new executives to its management team, all of whom have extensive experience in the restaurant and franchise industry. Bob Ritter, President and CEO, previously held every position in the company and was a Ritter's franchisee. Doug DeLor, Vice President of Marketing, was a corporate marketing executive for McDonald's. Rob McCrary, Vice President of Franchising, worked 15-plus years in distribution with Clark Foodservice. Ted Cocolin, Director of Field Support, held several positions with T.G.I. Friday's and Olive Garden and Chuck Moore, Franchisee Business Consultant, worked in the Ritter's company as John and Bob's right hand man for a number of years as the company was starting out.
"Our aim is franchisee profit through increased revenue, lower costs and building a strong system of systems support. The new leadership team will help us achieve that," said Ritter. Ritter also noted that following a period over the past few years, Ritter's experienced a shift in management strategy but that the controlling stake in the company now rests back in the hands of the Ritter family.
A top priority for Ritter's moving forward will be an emphasis on brand awareness, with Vice President of Marketing Doug DeLor leading an aggressive marketing campaign at national and local levels.
"Our aim is make Ritter's a household name and synonymous with 'frozen custard' and position frozen custard as the premium aspect to ice cream," DeLor said. "The combination of the new leadership team, our truly dynamic franchise opportunity and the dedication and support of our franchisees and system is what makes us the best of the best in all of our markets."
The Ritter's franchise opportunity offers a number of different options for prospective franchisees, including single and multi-unit territories. The strip center Shoppe is one of several different retail options, each designed to fit the needs of the franchisee and the local market environment. Ritter's also offers a comprehensive training and support program that covers all facets of operations and management, before, during and after the opening.
About Ritter's Frozen Custard
Ritter's Frozen Custard is one of the fastest growing premium ice cream chains in the country with 60 locations in eight states. Ritter's is on track to open 10 more in 2005. Founded in 1989 by John and Bonny Ritter in Franklin, IN, Ritter's offers a proprietary, super-premium ice cream menu including its famous "Glacier" frozen custard blended with fruit or candy, signature sundaes as well as shakes, malts and smoothies all served in an engaging, clean and friendly atmosphere.
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