Tropical Smoothie Café, the leading fast-casual café concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, signed franchise agreements to open 23 locations in the Atlanta market over the next five years. The award-winning smoothie franchise is targeting North Atlanta, Marietta, and Cobb and Cherokee counties to open the new cafés. Currently, Tropical Smoothie Café has five locations in the area, including a restaurant that opened January 12 in Suwanee at 3320 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road.
The Suwanee café is owned by franchisee Mike Haines, who will open another location in March at 869 North Main St., Suite 204, Alpharetta, Georgia. Haines worked in sales for 15 years at Microsoft and Facebook before leaving corporate America to become a franchise owner with Tropical Smoothie Café. He signed a development agreement in 2015 to open 10 cafés in North Atlanta.
Tropical Smoothie Café also signed a franchise agreement with Meritage Restaurant Group, a family-owned company lead by husband-and-wife team Deborah and Chris Pike, along with their daughter Meghan Cookand son Taylor Pike. Prior to joining Tropical Smoothie Café, Deborah Pike was chief marketing officer at Arby's and CEO of Atlanta-based restaurant consulting firm New Eyes Inc. The family will open 10 cafés in Cobb and Cherokee counties over the next five years.
"Our family has lived in Marietta for more than 60 years, and we are thrilled to bring Tropical Smoothie Café to the thriving community that we call home," says franchisee Chris Pike. "The brand promotes the importance of following a healthy lifestyle and offers a truly unique product that has developed a passionate following among consumers throughout the country. We look forward to welcoming our neighbors in to enjoy delicious and nutritious food while growing our business throughout the area as a family."
The new cafés in the Atlanta area will feature Tropical Smoothie Café's new menu, featuring toasted wraps and flatbreads, bowls, salads, house-made sides, all-day breakfast, a kids menu, and, of course, the brand's delicious smoothies. Guests can select from a menu of Superfood Smoothies that feature ingredients such as spinach, kale, açai, pomegranate, ginger, and avocado; Supercharged Smoothies like the Chia Banana Boost and Muscle Blaster; and many more. Additionally, Tropical Smoothie Café offers a wide variety of supplements like probiotics and whey protein, as well as fresh add-ins like granola, whole-grain oats, and ginger.
This year, the food and smoothie franchise plans to exceed 550 restaurants nationwide. The brand currently has franchise opportunities across the U.S. in markets such as Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Columbus, and Charlotte, among others. By 2018, Tropical Smoothie Café plans to have 800 stores open across the U.S.
Tropical Smoothie Café 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 $195,550 and $427,130. The healthy fast-food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $578,000—the highest in the company's 19-year history—with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of $734,000.
Tropical Smoothie Café'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 Café, the BIP Franchise Accelerator's portfolio includes Tin Drum Asiacafé, which has grown to 13 locations in Georgia and Florida.