Tropical Smoothie Cafe announced plans for continued development in Colorado, targeting Denver, Colorado Springs ,and Centennial to expand its presence through franchise growth. Tropical Smoothie’s aggressive growth strategy for Colorado is part of the brand’s overall franchise development plans for this year, with three cafes currently open throughout the state.
Spearheading Tropical Smoothie’s expansion throughout Colorado is husband-and-wife team Craig and Dianne LeMieux, area developers for the region. The LeMieuxs purchased area developer rights to the market in April 2016, along with two existing locations in Centennial. In addition to their development efforts in Colorado, Craig and Dianne are also Tropical Smoothie area developers in Michigan and Ohio. They currently have a total of 58 open locations throughout their markets, with an additional 39 cafes in development.
“Dianne and I have been with Tropical Smoothie Cafe for more than a decade, and it’s our belief in the brand that drives us to continually expand our business,” says Craig LeMieux. “We have not only seen tremendous success with the cafes we own and agreements we facilitate in Colorado, Michigan and Ohio, but also company-wide as the brand continues to report consecutive years of positive comp sales. There’s a demand for the better-for-you options Tropical Smoothie provides for its customers, and we’re eager to drive development forward, specifically in Colorado where there's a wealth of thriving communities chock-full with opportunity and potential we can tap into.”
While Colorado is a priority development market for the LeMieuxs, they are also working toward expanding Tropical Smoothie’s presence in Michigan and Ohio, specifically Battle Creek and Holland, Michigan, as well as the southwest and northern regions, and Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, as well as the northeast region.
“The LeMieuxs have become an integral part of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, making enormous strides in the last year by more than doubling their location count in their territories,” says Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. “Craig and Dianne’s commitment to our brand parallels their unwavering commitment to their team, as they consistently support their area cafes through construction, training, opening and beyond. They’ve embraced our system and we look forward to watching them catapult their Tropical Smoothie business to new heights as they set their sites on growing in Colorado.”
Over the past three years, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has sold over 450 franchises nationwide. Growth efforts in Colorado were fueled by Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s accelerated development plans in 2017. 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.