ATLANTA, Jan. 13, 2015 /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 its year-end results. The brand celebrated a strong year of growth, including positive comp sales of 11.4 percent and the opening of its 400th location nationwide.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe opened 55 new stores and expanded the brand to several new markets, including Philadelphia, Atlanta and Dallas, Texas. The company also signed franchise development agreements for 101 new locations, up nearly 28 percent over 2013, in new and existing markets such as San Francisco, Charlotte, Fort Worth, Miami and Nashville, Tenn., among others. Additionally, the brand's average unit volume (AUV) surpassed $526,000 — the highest in the company's 17-year history — with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of $669,000.
"This past year marked Tropical Smoothie Cafe's transition from an emerging fast casual brand to a true industry leader," said Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. "Currently, 65 percent of our new store development comes from existing franchisees, which is a testament to the strength of our business model and the satisfaction of our operators. I'm thrilled with the year we had and am incredibly optimistic we will continue to lead the competition with our unparalleled growth."
This year, Tropical Smoothie Cafe plans to exceed 500 stores nationwide and sign franchise agreements for an additional 150 new locations. The brand is targeting growth in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte and Columbus, Ohio, among others. By 2018, Tropical Smoothie Cafe plans to have 800 stores open across the U.S.
"With eight consecutive quarters of positive comp sales, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has experienced growth that has outpaced the fast casual industry. In fact, while others within our segment have grown, no one has seen traffic growth like we have," Rotondo added.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe has committed $20 million to franchise expansion through a financing program that provides qualified existing franchise owners with loans to cover 80 percent of store development costs, including franchise fees, equipment, signage and other expenses related to opening. Since the program's launch in 2014, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has approved $2.6 million and funded $1.7 million to develop 10 locations.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe is looking to add qualified franchisees to its growing brand. Candidates should have business experience, preferably in the restaurant industry; $100,000 in liquid assets and a minimum net worth of $300,000; and an initial investment of between $165,940 and $414,685. For more information about becoming a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisee, candidates are encouraged to visit www.tropicalsmoothiefranchise.com.
About Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant concept inspiring healthy lifestyles across the country, with over 415 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 2014 Franchise 500 and Nation's Restaurant News' 2013 Top 200. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is seeking qualified franchisees to expand throughout the United States in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte and Columbus, Ohio, among others.