New Leadership Continuing Momentum and Growth for the Popular Frozen Treat Brand
Rita’s Italian Ice, the nation’s largest Italian Ice concept with over 600 outlets in 20 states, announced today Michael Lorelli, an Operating Partner of Falconhead Capital, a private equity firm specializing in growing consumer-focused and franchise businesses, which acquired Rita’s in 2011, has been named Executive Chairman of the Board. Lorelli had been an Outside Director since the Falconhead acquisition.
“There is a powerful opportunity to expand the very loyal Rita’s customer base both within the existing geography, as well as in new U.S. and International markets,” said Mike Lorelli, Executive Chairman. “Rita’s opened its first three California outlets in June, and expansion efforts are underway in other western states and International markets. The first units in China are slated for fall openings.”
Lorelli is also interim CEO, and is spearheading the search for a President, following the departure of Jonathan Fornaci. When the search is completed, he will continue in his role as Executive Chairman. According to Lorelli, “The candidate profile is really pretty simple. . . deep experience in the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) space, leadership experience in franchising, and a strong fit within the very unique and special Rita’s culture.”
Mike Lorelli’s 30-year career spans a wide range of consumer products and services, and B2B categories, with responsibilities for both domestic and international units. At PepsiCo, Lorelli served as chief executive officer of Pizza Hut’s International division where he led a “global or bust” charge, resulting in expanding the Company’s presence from 68 to 92 countries, surpassing McDonalds in country count. He served as President of Pepsi-Cola East, a $1.5 billion operating company, and chief marketing officer for PepsiCo’s beverage sector. He was most recently chief executive of WaterJel Technologies, and has led four private equity companies as CEO. Mike is a Director of CP Kelco, and iControl, and has his MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He also holds Masters Accreditations at both the National Association of Corporate Directors, and The American College of Corporate Directors. Lorelli succeeds Tom Christopoul as Chairman of Rita’s following his departure.
Rita’s Franchise Company, founded in 1984 and headquartered in Trevose, PA, is the largest Italian Ice concept in the United States, currently operating in 20 states with over 600 outlets. Rita’s presently has international outlets opening in China, India, ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), and Canada, and is continuing to grow nationally and internationally through franchise opportunities.
The popular chain offers a variety of frozen treats including its famous Italian Ice, made fresh daily with real fruit, available in over sixty-five flavors, Old-Fashioned Frozen Custard, Milkshakes, Sundaes with Unlimited Toppings, Light Custard, Frozen Custard Cakes, Custard Cookie Sandwiches made with OREO®, layered Gelati as well as its signature Misto® and Blendini® creations. Since 1984, “Ice, Custard, Happiness,” has been the brand’s motto, and almost thirty years later, Rita’s is still dedicated to serving up a big dose of happiness with their freshly made, delicious, custom treats, in a fun-filled atmosphere.
Rita’s topped the Zagat Survey for the #1 Best Quick Refreshment, Ice Cream/Custard for 2012, and was named one of the Top 25 Franchise High Performers by the Wall Street Journal’s “Startup Journal” and named Top 100 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top 500 Franchise Rankings” in 2012. For more information about Rita’s please call 1-800-677-7482 or visit www.ritasice.com or www.ownaritas.com
Falconhead Capital, LLC, www.falconheadcapital.com, with $400 million of assets under management, is a private investment firm established in 1998 to provide investors with significant long-term capital appreciation by investing globally in consumer-focused businesses. Falconhead Capital’s current portfolio includes Escort, Inc., Extreme Fitness, Inc., GPSI Holdings, Javo Beverage Company, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, Our365 (f/k/a Growing Family), Premier, Inc. and Rita’s Water Ice Franchise Company, LLC. Past Falconhead investments include, among others, National Powersport Auctions, Maritime Telecommunications Network, and ESPN Classic Europe, LLC.