In celebration of National Bike to Work Week, May 11-15, we sat down with Smoothie King’s CEO and avid bicyclist Wan Kim. Wan Kim's first experience with Smoothie King was while studying at the University of California at Irvine in 2001. Since then he’s led Smoothie King to over 700 locations, all while finding time to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Read on for Wan’s inspiration and approach to balancing career, family and health.
What is your favorite Smoothie? I love all of the smoothies on our menu, but find myself ordering our new Nutty Super Grain Smoothie most often as a meal replacement for lunch. On the weekends, I usually grab a Berry Punch or Super Punch Plus to refuel after a long bike ride.
What drew you to work with and eventually lead Smoothie King? Smoothies for me always represented a healthy, convenient food. I became hooked in college! Once I was out on my own I felt a calling to build a business I could be passionate about. For me, that was providing healthy, convenient fuel for people to achieve their purpose, and that is when I approached Smoothie King for an expansion plan in South Korea. That passion is also what convinced Steve Kuhnau that I would build his brand globally.
How do you find time for a healthy and active lifestyle while leading a company? I usually replace a meal with a Smoothie King smoothie to get the nutrients I need to stay focused during busy days, that’s the easy part! Staying active can prove more challenging, but in biking, I’ve found an activity I really enjoy, which makes it easy to find the time to take a ride.
What tips do you have for other professionals pursuing a healthy lifestyle? Find something you enjoy doing, if you like it you’ll find a way to do it! Also, get a group together. Our office recently held a weight loss challenge to inspire people to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. We often go riding on Saturday mornings as a group too. These activities not only help us achieve our wellness goals, but also make us a better team!
What are your favorite ways to stay active? Biking of course, but also playing with my kids. They definitely keep me active!
What do you love about biking? Biking has become a passion of mine for a few reasons. It’s a workout I can enjoy in a group or by myself, and is not only a great way to get fit physically, but allows me to recharge mentally as well. It’s also challenging. Riding outside offers the challenge of the elements and riding with a group always pushes me to my speed limits, and I love going fast!
Where are your favorite places to ride? Our headquarters in Metairie, LA not only have an amazing view of Lake Ponchartrain, but also overlook a bike path that parallels the lake. The path goes from the suburbs to the city. It’s a great way to wind down after a long day, or get energized for the weekend.
What are your thoughts on biking to work, and do you plan to participate this week? Bike to Work Week is a great way to raise awareness for how easy it is to get active in your life. Some of our employees live quite a distance from the office; I’m interested to see if they take the challenge! I’ll be biking alongside them, though I have a shorter journey.
What are your hopes for Smoothie King’s guests in the coming years? My hope for Smoothie King’s guests is that they find fun and active ways to achieve their purpose. And that’s why we’re here, to be a delicious part of their journey.
Join Wan and your local Smoothie King in pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle, starting with National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 15.
Share photos of your route in a health-inspired design on Instagram to enter to win a $500 Nike gift card and free Smoothies. Just follow and tag @smoothieking!