DALLAS, July 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Smoothie King celebrated a record-setting year for franchise and brand growth at its bi-annual franchise conference held in New Orleans, June 20-22.
A total of 900 attendees, including 600 from Smoothie King franchisee companies, traveled across 29 states and three countries to gather in the Big Easy to digest the comprehensive research fueling the brand's evolution—citing consumer trends like the use of functional ingredients, transparency and convenience.
Emerging highlights included the franchise's development efforts over the last 12 months and recent initiatives driving the brand forward, including: the launch of the Rule The Day® campaign; the Clean Blends™ promise to use more whole fruits and vegetables while removing items on the company's No No List of prohibited ingredients; and enhancements to the Healthy Rewards™ loyalty program.
"The theme of this year's conference was 'Power of One,' which underscores the success and vitality of our franchise as a result of everyone's commitment to the brand and its win-as-a-team mentality," said Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim. "That commitment begins at the top, where we are continuously working to improve our franchisees' profitability to show both current owners and prospective franchisees the Smoothie King team's dedication to helping them run a successful business."
FRANCHISE GROWTH: SOMETHING TO SIP ON
Echoed at conference, it's been a record-setting year for franchise growth and expansion for Smoothie King. Recognizing the milestone achievement of 1,000 locations last August, leadership cited impressive 2018 growth figures like opening a franchise-record 106 stores in a single year, achieving five-straight years of same-store sales growth and having system sales growth surpass 9 percent for the third time in five years.
The team also highlighted the most recent announcement of 22 franchise agreements for 32 stores being signed during Q1 of 2019. In fact, of the 22 franchisees who signed deals in Q1, 17 were existing owners in the Smoothie King system—reinforcing the conference's Power of One theme.
First-half hires of 2019 were also introduced to the crowd at conference, as CMO Rebecca Miller, CFO Thomas Kim and CIO Chris Andrews all joined the leadership team. Each will serve as crucial catalysts for continued growth, while the new hires overall reiterate the company's investment in team building.
RECENT GUEST-FOCUSED INITIATIVES
In March, Smoothie King introduced Rule The Day®: a campaign embodying its vision to be an integral part of every health and fitness journey. As data shows, consumers are continuing to engage with brands that serve a purpose in their lives, and Rule The Day® brings their health and fitness needs to the forefront. The campaign spotlights a diverse menu of nutritious, great-tasting smoothies designed to help fuel and conquer each guest's health and fitness goals.
The rebrand also helped fuel the progression of Smoothie King's Clean Blends™ promise and the growth of its Healthy Rewards™ loyalty program. Since its soft launch in mid-2018, Clean Blends™ has been a brand commitment to use more whole fruits and vegetables to blend a more nutritious smoothie—one with zero added sugar in many purpose blends and absolutely no artificial preservatives, flavors, colors or other ingredients on the No No List.
"Not only does our Clean Blends™ promise align with our mission and vision, but it also corresponds with the emerging trend of consumers demanding transparency from brands—preferring a menu that clearly defines what smoothies contain what ingredients," said Kim.
Similarly, over the last year, Smoothie King's Healthy Rewards™ has improved in terms of functionality and efficiency as the brand continues to optimize and innovate its loyalty program.
"Convenience was also cited as an emerging consumer trend, so enhancing our Healthy Rewards™ loyalty program was crucial," Kim added. "By offering greater access to purchasing incentives while also easing the transaction process, guests are more likely to visit our stores and come back again. Given the progress we've made with Clean Blends™ and Healthy Rewards™ over the last year, in correlation with Rule The Day®, we've put ourselves in a great position for supporting continued growth."
ABOUT SMOOTHIE KING Founded in 1973, Smoothie King is a lifestyle brand inspiring people to live healthy and active lifestyles via nutritious, great-tasting smoothies with over 1,000 locations in 34 U.S. states, the Caymans, Trinidad and the Republic of Korea. The franchise recently earned the No. 1 ranking among smoothie concepts for the 28th-consecutive year, and the No. 22 spot overall, on Entrepreneur's prestigious Franchise 500 list in 2019.