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Jeremiah’s Record-Breaking Year: 102 Franchise Units Awarded in 2020

A Jeremiah's Frozen Dessert Shop doesn't require many people on staff at a time.

Adversity is often the greatest teacher, and 2020 was nothing if not full of challenges for the foodservice industry. At Jeremiah’s, it’s been a year of introspection and gratitude.

We have remained resilient in the face of exceptional uncertainty and difficulties. We are humbled to share that in 2020, we awarded 102 units among 36 franchisee groups, 60 percent of which were multi-unit agreements. We also opened 10 new franchise locations, including our firsts in Arizona, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. And in our home state stronghold of Florida, we watched as one of our franchisees opened our first non-traditional location inside of a gas station convenience store.

“It was a year that delivered unprecedented growth for Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and a year that brought to life my high school self’s dream of bringing my passion for serving tasty frozen treats and flavorful guest experiences to a national level,” said Jeremy Litwack, founder and CEO of Jeremiah’s Italian Ice.

You don’t achieve this sort of sweet success without facing adversity like we faced in 2020 and learning from it. As an emerging brand, this year brought several valuable lessons that will remain pivotal to our ongoing success:

  1. Be nimble and flexible
  2. Be an open-minded, learning organization
  3. Be resolute and hold to your core values

Here’s a closer look:

A Nimble and Adaptable Quick-Service Franchise

We have continued to Live Life to the Coolest despite the challenges faced during the pandemic and remained a comforting and familiar bright spot for our guests during these otherwise uncertain times.

We kept the health and safety of our guests, franchisees and staff as top priority, staying ahead of the curve on federal and local regulations by rolling out safeguards preemptively, allowing for a safe and comfortable work environment. Additionally, we are pleased to say, all salaried staff were maintained, even if a location’s services were suspended.

Even though Jeremiah’s felt the hit of the coronavirus pandemic, we didn’t lose momentum, leaning heavily on Jeremiah’s To-Go, a trio of off-premises channels including carryout, delivery by UberEats and DoorDash, and drive thru where available.

And finally, to continue awarding franchise units during COVID and keep up momentum, we retooled the entire Discovery Day process to be virtual in just a matter of two weeks. This allowed us to continue awarding franchises and maintain the momentum we had established at the start of the year, resulting in 20 units awarded in March and April alone, in addition to four Area Representative territories totaling an additional 131 units awarded in April.

The Power of Holding to Your Core Values

There’s nothing sweeter than a unified team that remains faithful to its Core Values when times get tough.

We remained COOL, calm, and collected while executing BOLD, STRATEGIC decisions, including opening our very first franchise locations during a global pandemic.

This allowed us to bring VIBRANT experiences to the communities we serve. Our GENUINE and honest approach with squad members, franchisees and guests garnered respect and continuous loyalty to the brand.

Lastly, remaining GENEROUS, even in the face of adversity, continues to have long lasting benefits for the brand. During the pandemic, we donated 23,000 free small items (vouchers) to the Orlando Health System as a giveback campaign for their staff who have given so much personally during the pandemic. We also also donated more than 150,000 Sweet Incentives (Small Item Vouchers) to local school systems this Fall. These vouchers give teachers and coaches the opportunity to engage and motivate their students by incentivizing what is most important within their classrooms. In this unique educational climate educators have faced this year, this opportunity to engage students has been particularly appreciated.

“I am proud that we were able to donate nearly 175,000 free products to community members in need,” said Nicole DiPietro, Vice President of Jeremiah’s Italian Ice. “Holding true to these core values continues to strengthen the brand. We leave 2020 with a true sense of accomplishment in our growth despite an unfavorable economic climate, as well as a sense of gratitude for our team and our guests that supported us all along the way.”

We now enter into 2021 and anticipate sustained growth with a stronger franchise system and team than ever before.

Looking Forward to Even Stronger Growth in 2021

We’ve taken the lessons of this year and developed new programs that will keep us agile as we face an evolving industry, and we’re building our team and systemizing our processes to facilitate growth.

At the crux of it all, however, you will find people. From our unit level squad members, to our managers, to our corporate support staff, franchisees and, of course, our valued guests, it’s the people that will make 2021 a shining success for Jeremiah’s Italian Ice.

With a target of 35 openings in 2021, we’ll continue to expand our footprint outside of Florida with additional units targeted in Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and our first shop in Louisiana. Jeremiah’s will also make its debut in Arvada, Colorado inside the Freedom Street Social Food Hall, which expected to open in the summer.

We are optimistic about the future of Jeremiah’s because our foundation is strong and we’ve witnessed the sweet success our franchisees are able to achieve.

“As I watched the entire Jeremiah’s Frog Squad band together as one to face the hurdles of 2020, while still having the opportunity to safely deliver a sense of normalcy to our guests through our refreshing treats, I remained humbled and honored to be a part of a company that stays true to its mantra to Live Life to the Coolest,” added Jeremy Litwack.

Looking at 2021, there are many opportunities available to invest in the hottest franchise with the coolest treats! Get started by downloading our franchise guide and learn more!