Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a leading fast casual cafe concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, announced that during the first quarter of 2017, it signed franchise agreements to open 30 restaurants, which will expand the brand’s presence in new and existing markets nationwide, including Idaho, South Carolina, Maryland, California and Arkansas. Tropical Smoothie Cafe also opened 30 new locations throughout the country, resulting in a total of 570 open restaurants at the end of the first quarter.
“2017 is a milestone year as we celebrate Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s 20th anniversary. This accomplishment has motivated us in all aspects of the business from franchise expansion, positive sales growth, and ongoing menu innovation,” says Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. “We’ve had a strong start to this year and I’m proud to say that more than half of the development agreements signed in Q1 are coming from existing franchisees. What’s even better is that this is familiar territory for us as this is the 3rd year in a row we are experiencing such tremendous growth from within the system.”
Additionally, on the heels of reporting comp sales exceeding 26 percent over the last three years at the end of 2016, the award-winning food and smoothie franchise closed out the first quarter with positive comp sales of 4 percent. According to MillerPulse, first quarter sales across the industry average -2.2% showing that Tropical Smoothie Cafe continues to outpace the competition.
“We’re experiencing tremendous momentum in this celebratory year and I look forward to working alongside the dedicated Tropical Smoothie Cafe team to build upon this success,” Rotondo says.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s success was further driven by its expanded array of offerings and ongoing product innovation. To raise the bar in its 20th anniversary year, Tropical Smoothie Cafe will continue to feature top performing limited time only food and smoothie items from the past as well as optimized versions of current fan favorites.
This year, the food and smoothie franchise plans to open over 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 $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.