ATLANTA, July 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Tropical Smoothie Cafe, the leading fast casual café concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, announced today tremendous success in the first half of 2016. Following a year where the company experienced the strongest growth in its 19-year history, the momentum is continuing as the sandwich and smoothie franchise reported a 6.4 percent increase in same-store sales and signed franchise agreements to develop 80 new cafés across the U.S., including in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Charleston, Houston and Dallas.
"In 2015, we experienced a record-setting year thanks to our ongoing menu innovation and unwavering commitment from our franchisees and employees. We started this year with the same vigor and have already achieved tremendous success as we hit the half-way mark," said Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. "With a strong franchise development pipeline, enticing limited-time menu items and evolving technology with continued use of our new mobile ordering and payment app, we're on track to reach our goal of exceeding 550 restaurants this year and further establishing Tropical Smoothie Cafe as a leader in the marketplace."
Among new franchise developers are Dusty Veach, Nathan Miller and Jake Miller who will own and operate five new Albuquerque cafés, with plans to expand into the Santa Fe and Farmington areas over the next several years. Entrepreneurs Calei and Kodei Kesterson also have joined the Tropical Smoothie Cafe team, and have plans to open three new cafés in Dallas this year. Experienced restaurateurs Marc Rodenbaugh, Alex Corbishley, Lawrence Rodenbaugh and Kevin Lawler, who make up RL Investments, also signed an agreement to own and operate a new café in Charleston, which will mark the second in the area.
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 Cafe plans to have 800 units 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 $210,550 and $478,550. The healthy fast food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $634,000 — the highest in the company's 19-year history — with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of more than $806,000.
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.
Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant concept inspiring healthy lifestyles across the country, with over 480 locations nationwide. With snack and meal options for any time of day, Tropical Smoothie Cafe serves smoothies, salads, tacos, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads. The rapidly growing franchise has received numerous accolades including being ranked on Entrepreneur's 2016 Franchise 500, 2016 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Franchise Times' Top 200+ and Nation's Restaurant News' 2015 Top 200. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is seeking qualified franchisees to expand throughout the United States in markets such as Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Columbus and Charlotte, 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.