Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a leading fast casual cafe concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, announced Monday it has appointed five industry veterans to the company’s corporate leadership team: Rob Collins as Chief Marketing Officer, Pete Ward as General Counsel, Paul Marsden as Chief Financial Officer, Jaime Denney as Senior Vice President of Operations and Cheryl Fletcher as Vice President of Franchise Development Strategy.
Over the last several years, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has experienced tremendous success and nationwide expansion, reporting comp sales exceeding 26 percent over the last three years. Additionally, the company has signed 140 new franchise development agreements and opened more than 50 new locations to-date in 2017. As a result of this significant growth, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is investing in its corporate leadership to accelerate this momentum and position the brand for further success.
“Our talented staff is the backbone of Tropical Smoothie Cafe and a huge component of our ongoing success. We know that an investment in our leadership is an investment in our future, and have no doubt that the expertise and knowledge these exceptional industry veterans bring will be tremendous assets as we continue taking the brand to new heights,” says Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. “Our consistent sales and record-high average unit volume have established Tropical Smoothie Cafe as one of the strongest concepts in the fast casual segment today and with our new additions, we’ve cultivated a best-in-class leadership team to carry out our projected future success.”
Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s new executive team members include:
Rob Collins, Chief Marketing Officer: Collins is responsible for all marketing functions and product development for Tropical Smoothie Cafe. He previously served in senior level roles contributing to the success of iconic brands such as Nickelodeon, Paramount, Universal Studios, and Turner Entertainment Networks. He was most recently CMO for Carmike Cinemas.
Pete Ward, General Counsel: Ward will advise Tropical Smoothie Cafe on all legal and business matters, including franchising, real estate, labor and employment, litigation, intellectual property, licensing and other commercial matters. Most recently, Ward served as the deputy general counsel and chief compliance/risk officer at Popeyes for over 10 years and has extensive experience handling corporate transactions, both in-house and in private practice.
Paul Marsden, Chief Financial Officer: Marsden will oversee development and execution of financial strategies to support the company’s business plans. With extensive experience in the food service industry, Marsden comes to Tropical Smoothie Cafe from Popeyes, where he served as the chief accounting officer and spent nearly two decades working in the brand’s financial and accounting departments.
Jaime Denney, Senior Vice President of Operations: Denney most recently served as the vice president of retail at Aramark for three years, where she led a cross-functional team in developing the vision, mission and strategy to provide food service offers for malls and retailers, as well as assisted with the creation and launch of the company’s integrated mobile app. An industry veteran, she also spent 15 years at Starbucks in various operational positions and was responsible for building, growing and retaining talent for the brand.
Cheryl Fletcher, Vice President of Franchise Development Strategy: In her new role at Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Fletcher will be responsible for driving the brand’s franchise development efforts through real estate analytics and strategic marketing planning. Previously, Fletcher held a 17-year tenure with Popeyes, during which she served as vice president of franchise development, vice president of development strategic planning and director of investor relations and finance.
By 2020, Tropical Smoothie Cafe plans to have 1,000 stores open across the U.S. The food and smoothie franchise 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 $220,770 and $525,400. The better-for-you food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $662,000 — the highest in the company's 20-year history — with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of more than $846,000.
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.