“Smoothie King fills the niche for people looking for healthier options in the food world,” says Richard Leveille, executive vice president of franchise development. “Smoothie King fits that need. It’s perfect and right for today’s environment. And it’s timeless: fruit and the desire for healthy eating are not a fad and will be around forever, and that makes this a great choice for franchising.”
The company celebrates 40 years in business in 2013 and has come a long way since the first shop in the New Orleans area in 1973. Now with more than 600 stores in the U.S., Cayman Islands, South Korea and Singapore, the brand is an international success.
Part of the current buzz about Smoothie King is that one of its own franchisees, Wan Kim, who took Smoothie King to his native South Korea and developed over 100 stores, recently bought the company from the original founders.
“This purchase pumped in a whole new excitement, energy and higher expectations for the brand,” says Leveille. “New ownership brings expanded vision and new goals for the company. We are coming off three years of positive same-store sales growth and have outperformed the quick-service industry for 19 of the last 20 months. These outstanding numbers show that the smoothie business continues to grow and says even more about our company, our vision for the brand and the leadership behind it.”
“We want people who align with our mission statement, which is to relentlessly influence and help more and more people achieve a healthier lifestyle.”
Smoothie King is looking for franchisees with business experience, but more than that, the company wants passion for the brand. “We want people who align with our mission statement, which is to relentlessly influence and help more and more people achieve a healthier lifestyle,” says Leveille. “Our core customers make our smoothies a part of their lifestyle; they visit three to five times a week. We know their smoothies, and sometimes we have them ready before they even get out of the car. That individual service in each community is how we build our brand.”
Once on board, training includes new franchisee orientation, where franchisees discuss business planning, financing, site selection and more, “everything you need to make the opening process efficient is laid out for our franchisees. Franchisors break down the complex process of opening a new business and simplify it. We give our franchisees a proven system to make the opening process easier,” says Leveille.
Post-opening support includes ongoing training, in-house, in-office and online. Localized operations support brings experienced marketing and business consultants to the stores to help franchisees and their staff build the business.
Smoothie King typically starts franchisees off with single units. “After you are successful, you can apply to grow; 90 percent of our franchisees tell us they want to grow with us,” says Leveille. “In addition, later this year we will introduce multi-store development programs. These are great opportunities for experienced operators of non-competing brands to expand their portfolios.”
The company plans growth in the Southeast, Northeast and the Midwest.
Smoothie King operates corporate stores as well. “Corporate stores build revenue for the company, but they also set the brand standard, build awareness, insure the integrity of company decisions and add to the buying and marketing power of the entire system of stores,” says Leveille.
Smoothie King has a vision and pursues it relentlessly: To become the healthy alternative to unhealthy food choices by providing a consistent, outstanding guest experience, great tasting nutritional smoothies and the highest quality nutritional products in a healthy, energetic environment.
“We invented the nutritional fruit smoothie in 1973. Our focus is on smoothies as a meal replacement,” says Leveille. “We have taken the smoothie from the side of the plate and moved it to the center of the plate. That is a big point of differentiation with our brand. There is no other product as strong as ours.”
For more information about franchising opportunities with Smoothie King, visit www.smoothieking.com
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