As sales continue to grow, so does Smoothie King’s footprint. The company opened its 1,200 location in Royal Oak, Michigan, on August 18. In Q1 and Q2, a combined 26 stores opened; the expectation is to open 80 by the end of 2020.
In addition, Smoothie King has signed more than 35 franchise agreements, which will lead to the opening of more than 50 stores. A dozen new franchisees have joined the system this year and more than 25 existing owners have reinvested.
Harmon notes that development has been a little softer because of the pandemic. Even though it's not been a typical year for Smoothie King, the brand still feels good about how matters have progressed given the unprecedented circumstances. Stores openings have been strong this year and are above average for the system. In June, a new store in Greenwood, Indiana, set an opening-week sales record, garnering $45,759.
“I think one thing is we have a great group of franchisees, and so I think when you have a great group of franchisees, we attract other franchisees that want to be a part of this system. That’s first and foremost,” says Harmon, discussing what attracts investors to the brand. “I think it does tie back to our mission and vision, and people want to be a part of something that is healthy and being a part of the trends. And so I think that is something that's unique.”
“I think we have a unique offering,” he continues. “As we think about going back to the Clean Blends initiative and the work that we've done and the investments that we've made and how we're thinking about the business, I think franchisees—people that are going to invest in a brand—are looking for franchisors that are investing or looking towards the future. And I think that’s what they see in our brand. We’re looking ahead, and we're looking at what the future is. We’re thinking about healthy and active.”
When Harmon says Smoothie King is thinking about being healthy and active, he means it. Just before the pandemic reached the U.S., the brand launched Metabolism Boost smoothies—Strawberry Pineapple and Mango Ginger—to help customers boost metabolism and control appetite.
Smoothie King followed that up with a new Immune Builder Veggie Superfood Smoothie composed of non-GMO fruits and vegetables, including organic spinach, kale, carrots, bananas, and dates, along with an electrolyte blend and apple pineapple juice.
Then in late April, the company partnered with Under Armour to provide 10,000 Healthy Rewards loyalty members access to Under Armour’s MapMyRun MVP subscription to assist with workouts and tracking personal goals. Additionally, Smoothie King and its franchisees donated $1 million worth of smoothies to local hospitals, testing centers, police and fire stations, and other essential workplaces.
That’s exactly why Harmon feels Smoothie King is currently positioned well among all the craziness. He expects that to remain the same for the rest of the year, if not better.
“We believe we can be as large as a McDonald's or a Starbucks—people want healthy,” Harmon says. “They want something that they can go to, and we think that’s who we are. And we're looking at the trends. We're looking at other brands that have done it well, and Smoothie King is that brand that's gonna be out there. it'll take us some time, but knowing the green space that is out there, the opportunity, and what guests are looking for, we believe that we can be as big as those other brands that are out there.”