In a year where health and wellness remained a top priority among many, Smoothie King’s support of such lifestyles was extraordinary. As a result, the global smoothie franchise’s inspired efforts translated into a tremendous year unlike any other.
Smoothie King, the world’s largest smoothie brand, opened a record 263 new stores globally in 2020. This includes 71 in the United States – which allowed the franchise to surpass 1,000 stores domestically and more than 1,300 worldwide despite the challenges that came globally during the pandemic. The U.S. stores grew comp sales for the ninth-consecutive year and closed out the second half of 2020 posting an unprecedented 12.2% sales growth year-over-year. In addition, Smoothie King hit record-setting new store annualized average sales of $627,922 for 2020 new-store openings.
“What sets Smoothie King apart is how our franchisees and team members live our mission: to inspire people to live healthy and active lifestyles,” says CEO Wan Kim. “It guides everything we do – operations, menu items, partnerships and more. Without our team’s execution, results like this would not have been possible.”
“When you have a year like 2020 where health and wellness come to the forefront unlike ever before, our franchise opportunity becomes even more attractive. Not just because we’re constantly improving and effectively answering today’s guest trends with innovations like curbside pickup, online ordering and delivery; there’s also an incomparable emotional attachment to a brand that genuinely cares and supports guests’ healthy lifestyles.”
As Kim mentioned, a few key innovations from this year have and will continue to fuel the franchise’s growth, including online ordering.
After tapping into its connections in Korea early in the year to get a forecast on how the pandemic might affect its U.S. stores, Smoothie King quickly rolled out a strategy that included fast tracking its website and mobile ordering platforms. This was done at the onset of the pandemic to provide guests with another convenient ordering option while also creating an additional revenue stream for its franchise owners. This aided the implementation of a safe, contactless curbside pickup service systemwide followed by a major delivery partnership with DoorDash.
In addition to operational innovations, Smoothie King showed tremendous support to franchisees in other ways, too. This included: launching weekly franchisee webinars to communicate best practices for managing COVID-19 challenges in stores; waiving some fees and deferring some royalties during the worst financial months of the pandemic; and lowering the cost of goods versus 2019.
Because of these efforts, the company also closed out the year accepting 91 franchise agreements domestically – topping last year’s total number of accepted agreements.
Those 91 deals are projected to produce 111 future stores in markets like Chicago, Northern Virginia and Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Additionally, the 2020 agreements are a result of 26 new franchisees joining the system and 65 current owners reinvesting in Smoothie King – which speaks to the unparalleled strength, success and support of the business and brand.
Looking ahead, Smoothie King is targeting 125 signed franchise agreements by the end of 2021.
“As a franchisor, our owners drive our success, and we are constantly focused on what we can do to best support them,” Kim adds. “In a time when many other companies and businesses had to shut their doors, we are proud to say we helped our owners stay open and get through the pandemic. Now, their businesses are thriving, and we are very excited for what next year has in store. We believe it’s going to be another record-setting year for us, and we look forward to welcoming new owners to help continue our growth at Smoothie King.”