Industry News | December 11, 2013

Tropical Smoothie Café Amps Up Leadership Team

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Tropical Smoothie Café, the franchise known for its healthy food with a tropical twist, boosted the strength of its leadership team by adding four new leaders.

The most recent hire is seasoned marketing executive Lisa Wenda, the brand’s new chief marketing officer. Wenda has more than 14 years of marketing experience in the quick-serve industry, including roles in marketing leadership at Yum! Brands, AFA Service Corporation, and Wendy’s/Arby’s Group. Most recently, she served as the vice president of field marketing for North America at Arby’s Restaurant Group. In her new role at Tropical Smoothie Café, Wenda is responsible for the development and execution of the brand’s marketing campaigns and directing the overall strategic vision of the company.

“Lisa's rich depth and well-versed marketing background will enable Tropical Smoothie Café to enhance the brand while delivering profitably against the brand promise,” says Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café. “A foodie and hands-on gorilla marketer at heart, Lisa knows how to drive brands forward, and we’re very excited to have her join our senior leadership team.”

Spurring the company’s growth is the 2012 acquisition by Atlanta-based BIP Opportunities Fund LP, which took a controlling interest of Tropical Smoothie Café. Since then, the national food and smoothie franchise added considerable resources and put together a strong executive team to lead the brand. Others in these key leadership roles include Tim Tanguay, vice president of finance. Tanguay is charged with managing all aspects of Tropical Smoothie Café’s financial department, as well as participating in the brand’s strategic financial planning to help drive profitable results. Prior to Tropical Smoothie Café, Tanguay was the director of financial planning and analysis for Benchmark Brands.

Robin Willis joined the teams as vice president of organizational services. Willis is responsible for providing executive leadership and direction to a variety of Tropical Smoothie Café departments. However, her primary focus is providing training and support for franchisees. Willis has more than 28 years of retail and food service experience holding a variety of operations, training, and planning roles.

Charles Watson joined the team as vice president of franchise development. Watson is responsible for Tropical Smoothie Café’s franchise growth and manages the company’s aggressive growth plan to complement its presence across the country. Watson is a former vice president of corporate strategy and development for Wyndham Hotel Group in Atlanta and brings to the position more than 10 years of proven sales track records and exceptional leadership.

“We have assembled a dynamic team of talented individuals who will be instrumental in advancing the growth of our franchise and taking this brand to the next level,” Rotondo says.

After opening 40 franchise locations and signing 70 new franchise agreements in 2013, Tropical Smoothie Café is accelerating expansion in 2014 with plans to open 55 new cafés throughout the U.S.