"I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to lead such an incredible brand that has truly become a part of my DNA over many years," Watson said. "I am forever grateful to our franchisees, support center team and our Board of Directors for their confidence in me as the leader who can guide Tropical Smoothie Cafe into a new era."
Tropical Smoothie has more than 720 locations nationwide. So the goal is essentially to double the chain’s footprint in the next four years.
The company’s performance has been on the rise in recent years. When former CEO Mike Rotondo, who held the job for five years, left for Edible Arrangements in July, Tropical Smoothie said the top 50 percent of its franchise owners had average gross sales north of $873,254—a 30 percent increase over the last four years. Same-store sales were up 36 percent over the past five, and more than 345 locations had opened in that span. Also, it’s reported average-unit volumes of $681,000 were the highest in the company’s 20-plus years of history. When Rotondo joined Tropical Smoothie as VP of operations in 2008, comps were down about 6 percent and another 2 percent in 2009. AUVs hovered around $400,00. By 2015, same-store sales increased 11.2 percent, year-over-year, and the brand ignited a growth spurt with 199 signed franchise agreements that hasn’t slowed much since. It inked close to 100 in 2017.
The year Rotondo was appointed CEO, in 2012, BIP Capital invested in Tropical Smoothie.