Water ice goes international

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Indians eat kulfi, all right. How about Philly water ice?

Trevose's Rita's Italian Ice, now in 18 states, is now working the international circuit, as it's seeking franchisees in Asia and South Africa.

Nation's Restaurant News recently included Rita's in a story about U.S. franchisors exploring opportunities in India. Rita's joined reps of brands such as Applebee's, Carl's Jr., Denny's, and Wendy's in an April trade mission to three Indian cities led by the Commerce Department.

Rita's director of franchising, Lauriena Borstein, told me that the company had retained Bill Edwards of Edwards Global Services to drum up business there. She said two potential operators were going through the due-diligence process. Another trade event is planned next month for South Africa (where presumably the first-day-of-spring water-ice giveaway will be in September). Rita's also has seen interest from a prospect in South Korea, Borstein said.

A mission is being planned for China, she said. Doubtless, Mandarin orange will be a flavor there.

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