Industry News | May 10, 2013

Robeks to Grow in Hometown Los Angeles

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Robeks plans to expand its footprint in Los Angeles.

The smoothie franchise was born in L.A. in 1996 and has become a favorite of celebrities, as well as other health-conscious people looking for premium smoothies and fresh-squeezed raw juices. There are 110 Robeks smoothie franchises, and, with the economy bouncing back and the roll out of a revamped menu that has boosted sales, Robeks is ready to accelerate its growth.

"We're seeing a turnaround in the economy and increased demand for both smoothies and juices," says David Rawnsley, the regional director for Robeks in northern Los Angeles. "The commercial rent market is still soft for now, so there's less demand for prime locations and more negotiating power. Rent is normally one of the biggest expenses for a new owner, so that's another factor that makes starting a smoothie business now particularly compelling."

Rawnsley, who owns a Robeks smoothie franchise in the Sherman Oaks Galleria, says the company has developed a strong and deserved reputation for paying close attention to the healthiness of its ingredients and the taste of its smoothies and juices.

Robeks smoothies and juices use naturally ripened fruits and vegetables that retain nutrients, live enzymes, and natural flavor, and they contain no artificial preservatives, artificial flavorings, or other artificial ingredients.

The company helped popularize superfruit açaí in the 1990s and more recently became the first smoothie franchise to offer smoothies made with Greek yogurt, which has more protein and fewer carbohydrates than traditional American yogurt. Robeks also unveiled a new menu in January featuring new smoothies and vegetable juices, and saw revenue jump 5 percent.

The company's business model matches several emerging trends in the food industry.

Millions of Americans are responding to the nation's obesity and other health crises by adopting more natural diets that substitute fruits and vegetables for processed food. Nationwide, smoothie sales doubled from 2007 to 2011, reaching $2.4 billion, and sales are continuing to grow.