NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Smoothie King, the originator and innovator in the smoothie segment, has achieved a record year of franchise development growth. The company opened 96 new stores across 28 states spanning from Texas to New York in 2017. The brand also built on that momentum with a record-breaking number of franchise agreements, closing out the year with 147 franchise agreements for a total of 204 committed stores. Moreover, 67 percent of those deals are with existing franchisees, proving the company's vision and business model is scalable. With all of this action, it's no surprise that Entrepreneur Magazine has recently recognized Smoothie King for the 25th year as the No. 1 franchise opportunity in the juice bar category. More impressively, the brand jumped 88 spots to break the top 50 franchise opportunities, landing at No. 35 in the Franchise 500.
"The franchisees throughout our system have seen the amazing opportunity to grow into multi-unit operators with us and are taking advantage of our systems and mission to provide guests with 'Smoothies with a Purpose®' backed by a proven business model,'" said Kevin King, Chief Development Officer at Smoothie King. "With five consecutive years of positive same-store sales, we aren't surprised to see our savvy franchisees eager to expand their store count."
In July, Smoothie King crossed a milestone, opening its 900th store in New York with franchisee Bob Viani, a former multi-unit franchise operator with Planet Fitness. Lynn Eskandari is another multi-unit franchisee that owns Shipley's Donuts across Houston and will be adding six Smoothie King locations to the market. The Cape Asset Management Group has signed on to open 15 locations across five different states, nearly all next to Workout Anytime locations. Smoothie King also signed a 16 unit deal with a group that will be expanding the brand's presence throughout the greater Cincinnati area. With so many new franchisees joining the system and mapping out expansion plans, this activity is happening alongside current franchisees that are continuing to develop their existing markets, like Derek Kent who signed for 11 more locations across Iowa.
"When looking for franchise partners, we are looking for operators who share our commitment to inspiring people to live a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as a desire to become a positive force in their local community," said King. "Bringing so many experienced operators into our system while being able to grow with current operators is a huge accomplishment. We are continuing to look for multi-unit franchisees in other complimentary systems like restaurant or fitness franchisees who want to expand their portfolios."
As more franchisees join the growing system and existing franchisees continue to expand, they'll be receiving ample support and direction from a recently bolstered executive team. In 2017, Smoothie King announced the addition of two key members to the senior leadership team: Dan Harmon as new Chief Operating Officer and Jennifer Herskind as new Chief Marketing Officer. Each executive brings a strong franchising background that will play a role in the company's new Cleaner Blending initiative. Smoothie King has already eliminated high fructose corn syrup, trans fat, hydrogenated oil, gluten, and any ingredients prohibited by any regulatory lists monitored by NSF from all of its smoothie offerings. The Cleaner Blending initiative continues into 2018 as the company targets the removal of artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial preservatives, added hormones and GMO fruits and veggies and launching all Purpose Blends with no sugar added, today that's more than 50 smoothies across the brand's Fitness, Slim and Wellness menu categories.
"When we look at our 'Smoothies With a Purpose®,' I want each and every guest who comes into Smoothie King to truly feel like we are helping them achieve their goals to live a healthy and active lifestyle," said Wan Kim, Smoothie King's Chief Executive Officer. "Our new Cleaner Blending initiative is geared to improve our smoothies so that people will feel even better about what they're putting into their bodies."
The brand's ongoing success is further exemplified by the company's positive sales path that includes two year stacked same-store sales increasing by 10.2 percent. This continues the successful streak of the past four years of record growth.
Looking ahead, Smoothie King continues its plan to expand in 16 key markets—Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas, Texas; Miami, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Austin, Texas; Washington D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cincinnati, Ohio; Jacksonville, Florida; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas; New York; and Chicago, Illinois.
ABOUT SMOOTHIE KING
Smoothie King Franchises, Inc. is a privately held, New Orleans-area-based franchise company with more than 900 units worldwide. By creating each smoothie with a purpose, Smoothie King helps to make it simple and pleasurable for guests to achieve their individual health goals as part of a low-calorie diet and regular exercise routine. The franchise also offers a number of nutritious retail products, including sports beverages, energy bars, vitamin supplements and more.
Smoothie King was founded in 1973 by Steve Kuhnau, whose mission was to help others achieve better health in a tasty way. In 1989, Smoothie King became the first franchised smoothie bar/health food store in the U.S. and currently operates in 34 states, the Caymans, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Republic of Korea. In 2018, Smoothie King was ranked No. 1 by Entrepreneur magazine in the juice bar category for the 25th year and No. 35 overall on the 2018 Franchise 500 list. In 2014, Smoothie King partnered with the New Orleans Pelicans to launch the Smoothie King Center, a multi-purpose indoor arena in New Orleans, Louisiana. Smoothie King offers veterans and first responders a 20 percent discount off the initial franchisee fee. Visit www.smoothieking.com or www.smoothiekingfranchise.com; engage on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SmoothieKing; follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/smoothieking.
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SOURCE Smoothie King