Edible Arrangements picked Mike Rotondo as its next chief executive officer, the company announced Tuesday morning. Rotondo has spent the last decade at Tropical Smoothie Café, including the past five as CEO, responsible for the growing brand’s strategic vision and overall franchise performance.
This past year, Tropical Smoothie said its top 50 percent of franchise owners had average gross sales north of $873,254––a 30 percent increase over the last four years. Same-store sales are up 36 percent over the past five, and more than 345 units have opened in that span, bringing the total to about 650 from coast to coast. The company’s average-unit volume systemwide is more than $681,000—the highest in its 21-year history.
“I’ve closely followed Mike’s career over the past decade at Tropical Smoothie, and when the time came to bring in a CEO, I knew he would be perfect for the role,” Edible founder Tariq Farid said in a release. Farid has also served as CEO since the company’s inception in 1999. He will now focus on growing Edible Brands, the concept’s parent company, a role that includes technology, supply chain, and other businesses, as well as the Edible Arrangements brand.
“This is an exciting time at Edible and I am confident that Mike’s deep experience in [quick-service restaurants] and gifting will bring our vision of the new Edible to life,” he added.
There are more than 1,200 franchise locations of Edible Arrangements open or under development worldwide. Known for their designed fresh-cut fruit arrangements, Edible stores also carry the expanding Edible Treats line, which features chocolate dipped fruit, Froyo Fruit Blends, fresh-fruit salads, and other treats.
“With more than 1,200 locations worldwide, this is one of those rare opportunities to take what is already a beloved brand and shape a new and exciting future,” Rotondo said in a statement. “Everything is in place and the timing is perfect for us to move forward with adding significant new revenue streams for our brand and our franchisees.”
Rotondo joined Tropical Smoothie as vice president of operations in 2008. He was named chief operating officer in 2011 and CEO the following July. BIP Capital also invested in the concept in 2012. When he joined the company, comp sales were down about 6 percent in 2008 and another 2 percent in 2009. AUVs hovered around $400,000. By 2015, comps increased 11.2 percent, year-over-year, and the brand signed 199 franchise agreements. That growth hasn’t slowed. Tropical Smoothie inked nearly 100 franchise agreements this year alone.
Before, Rotondo worked at Baskin-Robbins through high school and college, and joined Wendy’s as an assistant manager before working his way up to district manager. He arrived at Tropical Smoothie after a similar role at Great Wraps.