ATLANTA, Aug. 21, 2017 /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 it has signed its 100th franchise agreement of the year, which will expand its footprint in the greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. This milestone achievement is a reflection of the impressive surge in franchise development the company has experienced throughout its monumental 20th anniversary year, driving its presence in new and existing markets nationwide and positioning the brand for further growth in 2017 and beyond.
"Year after year, Tropical Smoothie Cafe has experienced compounding success and consistent growth and we continue to leverage this momentum to expand our presence nationwide. We kicked off our 20th anniversary with a goal to open 100 new units by the end of 2017 and given the accelerated growth we've already experienced this year, we're on track to outpace that goal," said Mike Rotondo, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. "Over the past several years, entrepreneurs from across the country have joined the Tropical Smoothie Cafe team, recognizing that our business model and franchisee support structure have unlimited potential for success. Combine those strengths with our dedication to product innovation, showcased through creations such as the brand new Green Apple Matcha and PB Apple Power Up smoothies, and the opportunities for advancement are limitless."
First-time Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisee Lori Gast will help drive the brand's growth in Pennsylvania, with her first location slated to open next spring just outside downtown Pittsburgh. Following her first opening, Gast plans to develop additional locations throughout the area over the next several years. No stranger to the foodservice industry, Gast has extensive restaurant experience and has held a variety of different positions dating back to her college years in California.
"Two years ago, my husband and I first experienced Tropical Smoothie Cafe during a trip to North Dakota and simply fell in love with the product. The fresh and better-for-you food options coupled with incredible product innovation made the concept completely stand out in the crowded fast casual segment," said Gast. "I am excited to begin my career in franchising by partnering with a brand dedicated to delivering a consumer experience that is second to none, a priority that has helped establish it as an industry leader and fueled its rapid nationwide growth and success."
Tropical Smoothie Cafe currently has franchise opportunities across the U.S. in markets such as Indianapolis, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati and Minneapolis, among others. By 2020, Tropical Smoothie Cafe plans to have 1,000 stores open across the U.S. The food and smoothie franchise 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 $220,770 and $525,400. The better-for-you food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $662,000 — the highest in the company's 20-year history — with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of more than $846,000.
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.
About Tropical Smoothie Cafe Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant concept inspiring healthier lifestyles across the country, with more than 600 locations nationwide. With snack and meal options for any time of day, Tropical Smoothie Cafe serves better-for-you smoothies, salads, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads. Upgraded app technology and enhanced mobile ordering capabilities 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 being ranked on Entrepreneur's 2017 Franchise 500, 2016 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Franchise Times' Top 200+ and Nation's Restaurant News' 2016 Top 200. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is seeking qualified franchisees to expand throughout the United States in markets such as Indianapolis, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati and Minneapolis, 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.