ATLANTA, July 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a leading national fast-casual cafe franchise known for both its better-for-you smoothies and food with a tropical twist, announced today its strong growth year-to-date in 2020 including the signing of 103 new franchise agreements, including 49 signed since March 1 — of which, 67% are with existing franchisees. In addition, the company also opened 43 new restaurants in 2020 with 35 cafes opening since March 1. Franchise agreements and cafe openings targeted growth in 25 states, propelling franchise development efforts in target markets across the country.
With many franchise concepts having to pivot their business models to align with the recent events and related economic shift, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC went above and beyond to commit to its franchisees, team members, and guests by implementing systemwide initiatives. Most notably, the company restructured its franchise development team to provide needed best practices and support to guide franchisees through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding process and its real estate team shifted priorities to assist franchisees as they negotiated rent deferrals and abatements. As a result, Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisees secured more than $29 million in PPP funds for small business owners across the system and achieved $1.8 million in rent relief for approximately 250 cafes. Additionally, the brand implemented hyper-local marketing initiatives, enhanced order modes to include curbside and delivery options, and offered a 50% royalty relief reduction for eight weeks to further support franchisees.
"As we reflect on the past few months, we're incredibly humbled by the momentum we've accomplished during one of the most challenging periods our industry has ever experienced," said Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC. "Keeping our culture and franchisees top priority, we quickly mobilized to ensure our franchisees felt supported and were equipped with the right guidance and tools to successfully navigate through this unprecedented time. With the majority of new franchise agreements and cafe openings stemming from existing operators, it only reinforces the passion and sense of pride that our franchisees feel in our brand, and we couldn't be more optimistic about the future. In short, our franchisees have shown grit and perseverance through all of this, and the credit for our brand success and momentum goes to them. We are incredibly grateful for their dedication to Tropical Smoothie Cafe as evidenced by our robust growth pipeline and additional interest in the brand."
In addition to marketing and financial support, Tropical Smoothie Cafe participated in the nationwide "#InThisTogether" campaign, and encouraged franchisees to support local essential workers and first responders by donating smoothies to local hospitals, schools, police stations, fire rescue stations, and more. Collectively, the brand donated more than 210,000 smoothies nationwide and $100,000 to the American Nurses Foundation.
Toya Evans, a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise owner who recently opened her third location in Bowie, Maryland, shared that, "Despite our grand opening being initially delayed because of COVID-19, our first day turned out to be incredibly strong, with incredible sales. We truly feel that navigating through this time would not have been possible without the support and guidance we received from the corporate team every step of the way, especially when we had to modify our training, marketing, and social media due to shifts in our grand opening schedule." Evans commented further, "We love Tropical Smoothie Cafe for its incredible support system and network of franchise owners, as well as our guests and the better-for-you products we get to serve in the cafes. We didn't just join a brand, we joined a family."
Tropical Smoothie Cafe is looking to add qualified franchisees to its growing brand and currently has franchise opportunities in markets throughout the U.S. Interested candidates should have business experience, along with a minimum net worth of $350,000, which includes $125,000 in liquid assets. Candidates who meet these preliminary qualifications will need to make an initial investment ranging between $198,500 and $543,500. The better-for-you food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $768,000 — the highest in the company's 22-year-history — with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of more than $982,000.
About Tropical Smoothie Cafe®️ Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual cafe concept inspiring a healthier lifestyle with more than 850 locations nationwide. Serving better-for-you smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads, Tropical Smoothie Cafe also offers upgraded app technology and enhanced mobile ordering capabilities to further elevate the digital and dine-in cafe experience and emphasize the brand's focus on convenience. The rapidly growing franchise has received numerous accolades including rankings in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500, Forbes' Best Franchises and Franchise Times' Fast and Serious list as well as Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Nation's Restaurant News' Top 200 and Top 10 Fastest Growing Chains, and Restaurant Business America's Favorite Chains. In 2019, the brand was recognized amongst QSR's Best Franchise Deals and Franchise Times' Top 200+, as well as being chosen as NRAEF's Restaurant Neighbor Award Winner.