Smoothie King announced Tuesday IT executive Chris Andrews has joined the franchise as its new chief information officer.
In his new role, Andrews is responsible for managing the overall design and successful execution of Smoothie King’s IT strategy while also further developing the franchise’s digital infrastructure. With the quick-service industry continuing to move toward digital and consumers engaging with brands across countless mediums, Andrews is aiming to ease the transaction process and provide as many avenues as possible for guests to interact with the brand.
“[Chris] brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in both IT and the restaurant industry, and his technical skills are second-to-none,” says Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim. “What makes him especially unique, though, is his leadership style, which aligns seamlessly with our mission and vision. He’s going to be a key piece for helping our brand grow in 2019 and beyond.”
Andrews comes to Smoothie King following two years at Pei Wei Asian Diner, most recently holding the CIO title. Prior IT experience in the restaurant industry also includes roles at On The Border Mexican Grill and Cantina as the vice president of IT and at Chuck E. Cheese’s parent company, CEC Entertainment, as the director of systems architecture/integration.
“Right now, I’m going through the same training our franchise partners go through, and to see the brand through the eyes of people who’ve made the financial commitment to Smoothie King has me fired up,” says Andrews. “When you talk with [Wan], you see and feel his passion for our mission and vision immediately. I’m excited to leverage my experience and help inspire people to live healthy and active lifestyles.”
Andrews becomes the third new executive to join Smoothie King’s leadership team in 2019, as the health and wellness brand also tabbed Rebecca Miller as its CMO and Thomas Kim as its CFO in March. The hires help reinforce Smoothie King’s rapid franchise development and growth, which continued to flourish in the first quarter of this year. Smoothie King received agreements for 32 committed stores from 22 franchisees in 12 states, including a 10-unit area development agreement for Tucson, Phoenix and El Paso.
Additionally, the franchise is coming off its single-most prosperous growth year in its 45-year history after opening a record number of stores in 2018 (106 North American locations) and reaching the 1,000-location milestone in August.
For 2019, the franchise is targeting 130 signed franchise agreements and 116 new store openings.