Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a leading fast casual cafe concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, announced it will open the state of Michigan’s 50th location in Portage on March 4. This restaurant, located at 230 W. Milham Ave., will mark the second location in the region for husband-and-wife franchisees Eduardo Ramos and Corina Groeger, as well as a milestone achievement for area developers Craig and Dianne LeMieux, and Debbie King, who have successfully helped to expand the brand’s presence throughout Michigan since 2005.
“Michigan is one of Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s fastest-growing markets in the country and that growth would not be possible without the continued passion and dedication of our existing franchisees like Eduardo and Corina, who continue to demonstrate their confidence in our brand,” says Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. “This couple’s enthusiasm and commitment for providing Michigan communities with better-for-you food choices has solidified their position as one of the brand’s top franchise partners in the state.”
Eduardo and Corina joined the Tropical Smoothie Cafe team back in 2015 with the opening of their first location in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Working for years in the corporate world, the couple was enamored by the brand’s franchise concept, successful business model, and high-level of corporate support. The grand opening celebration on March 4 will offer customers discounted smoothies and special prizes throughout the day.
“We are thrilled to open the 50th location in Michigan and proud to be a part of the brand’s rapid growth throughout the state,” says Ramos. “We are continuously impressed by the passion of the Tropical Smoothie team in bringing our customers the highest level of quality food and smoothies. We look forward to continuing to provide our communities with Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s healthy lifestyle choices.”
Over the past three years, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has sold over 450 franchises nationwide. The opening of this new location in Portage continues to solidify Michigan as the third largest market for Tropical Smoothie behind Florida and Virginia. On the heels of one of the strongest years in the company’s 20-year history, the award-winning brand successfully propelled its expansion and grew its presence in key markets nationwide, including Charleston, South Carolina; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Dallas, Texas; and Southern California.
This year, the food and smoothie franchise plans to open 100 restaurants nationwide and currently has franchise opportunities across the U.S. in markets such as Indianapolis, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati and Minneapolis, among others. By 2020, Tropical Smoothie Cafe plans to have 1,000 stores open across the U.S.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe is looking to add qualified franchisees to its growing brand. Candidates should have business experience; $125,000 in liquid assets and a minimum net worth of $350,000; and an initial investment of between $198,050 and $478,550. The healthier fast food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $634,000—the highest in the company's 20-year history—with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of more than $806,000.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s aggressive franchise growth is backed by the entrepreneurs at the BIP Franchise Accelerator, a division of venture capital firm BIP Capital, which invested in the brand in 2010. BIP Capital has invested more than $250 million in emerging, high-growth brands across the franchising, software, and technology and consumer products industries. BIP Capital created the BIP Franchise Accelerator to leverage its leadership team's deep franchise experience to help emerging brands accelerate their growth. In addition to Tropical Smoothie Cafe, the BIP Franchise Accelerator’s portfolio includes Tin Drum Asian Kitchen, which has grown to 11 locations in Georgia.