For people hoping to get started, what would you say is the most important part of crafting a business plan and concept?
Jeff: You need to know the business well in order to grow it. One of the biggest contributors to crafting a successful business plan is to be fluent and adaptable. Things change, constantly. it’s important to adapt and think level-headed. For example, when we noticed sales were much higher than we expected, we quickly realized we needed more manpower to help grow the brand and immediately hired more staff.
Talk about bringing Jeff Levine into the picture. How did you two connect, and what was he able to bring to the table to get the brand started?
Barry: Before coming onboard with Raw Jūce, Jeff was the former CEO and founder of Salad Creations. With his extensive background and expertise in the industry, I knew that Jeff would help grow this concept into the brand it is today.
How long did it take to open store No. 2? Did you always see scalability in the concept’s future?
Barry: It took us two years to open our second store, which quickly grew to nine stores by the end of 2019. We didn’t know what the scalability would be like, but we knew we had something special, and we knew there would be a great future for Raw Jūce.
What went into the decision to launch a national franchising program?
Jeff: Our mission is to empower and encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle - we want to expand that. By launching a national franchising program, we’re able to get like-minded individuals to help expand our mission across different markets. We’ve seen tremendous success so far and are only expecting to grow. The plant-based movement is one of the highest growing industries today, and our mission is to empower and encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle. Our goal of launching our national franchising program is to expand that mission. Coupled with our commitment to partner with franchisees that share the same values as our brand, we’ll be able to expand that across many different markets.
Some people fear losing brand value through franchising, or just worry about handing their concept off to another operator. How will Raw Jūce address that? What kind of franchisees are you hoping to connect with?
Jeff: We’re very aware that people fear losing brand value through franchising. We plan on combating that through an extremely selective franchisee recruitment process. We’ve worked extremely hard to build this brand and grow to the nine locations we have today. With the launch of our national franchising program, we want to make sure we choose to only partner with individuals who share the same lifestyle and mission as we do. We want people who are just as passionate about the process and product as we are.
How big do you think Raw Jūce can become? Within a couple years, five, looking even further down the road?
Jeff: We see significant growth in Raw Jūce’s future. We’re hoping to open 50 to 75 franchised locations and another 25 corporate stores in the next five years.
What does the labor model look like per store?
Jeff: One of the biggest differentiators about our brand is our labor model. In addition to the 3-4 employees working behind the counter each shift, we have one team member who welcomes guests as soon as they walk in. That greeter introduces, explains and samples the different products on our menu, and takes each guest through the Raw Jūce experience. We’d like this to be kept consistent across all locations, as it’s extremely important that every guest has the best experience possible with our help.
How will Raw Jūce differentiate itself in a very crowded and growing segment?
Barry: We’re authentic. Raw Jūce’s priority is to provide the best possible product and experience to our guests, so we’re not looking to take shortcuts. All of our ingredients are 100 percent organic, non-pasteurized, and created daily in-house. We make sure our juices and food items are the best tasting products without relying on artificial ingredients, thickening agents and sweeteners that many of our competitors use. In addition, we own our own organic produce company and have invested in our own organic farm, which is expected to yield its first crop in April. Essentially, we’ve really established a truly unique “farm-to-table” supply chain. Raw Jūce isn’t just a juice bar, it’s truly an experience and a lifestyle!