ATLANTA, April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Tropical Smoothie Cafe, the leading fast casual cafe concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, announced today 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," said 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 added.
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
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.
About Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant concept inspiring healthier lifestyles across the country, with over 570 locations nationwide. With snack and meal options for any time of day, Tropical Smoothie Cafe serves better-for-you smoothies, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads. The rapidly growing franchise has received numerous accolades including being ranked on Entrepreneur's 2017 Franchise 500, 2016 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Franchise Times' Top 200+ and Nation's Restaurant News' 2016 Top 200. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is seeking qualified franchisees to expand throughout the United States in markets such as Indianapolis, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati and Minneapolis, among others.
About the BIP Franchise Accelerator
The BIP Franchise Accelerator is a division of BIP Capital, an Atlanta-based venture capital firm with over $250 million invested in over 26 companies in emerging, high-growth brands across the franchising, software, 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. The BIP Franchise Accelerator not only provides investment capital, but also uses proven strategies to help companies evolve into mature, thriving brands. From fast casual and QSR concepts to service brands and healthcare and education concepts, the BIP Franchise Accelerator has invested in emerging brands driven by people with an entrepreneurial spirit that have a great growth potential. Its current portfolio includes Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Tin Drum Asian Kitchen and BIP Franchise Finance. For more information on BIP Franchise Accelerator, visit www.bipfranchiseaccelerator.com.
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SOURCE Tropical Smoothie Cafe