NEW ORLEANS, LA – Long before smoothies became widely available, Smoothie King was hard at work creating its own category—one where health and nutrition matter just as much as flavor and convenience. That’s a blend of attributes that Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim feels strongly positions the global chain for significant growth in an increasingly competitive niche. And so far, the brand's first half of 2016 is a good indicator that Kim's vision is right on track. From January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016, Smoothie King boasted a 12.4 percent increase in same-store sales. The innovative purveyors of "Smoothies With A Purpose®" also inked 53 franchise and area development agreements that will yield an additional 94 stores in the brand’s growing system of more than 790 units.
"At Smoothie King, we've always been proud to align what we say with what we do—and that’s building an extraordinary purpose-driven brand that's an integral part in helping people live healthy and active lifestyles," Kim said. "As we close out a successful first half of the year with impressive double-digit same-store sales, I feel strongly that this is still just the beginning for Smoothie King. We're poised to inspire more people than ever before to lead a healthier life."
Fueling the brand’s growth are six major area development agreements. During the first half of the year, new multi-unit area development agreements were signed for Chicago, Tucson, Dallas, Baltimore, Orlando and Virginia. Smoothie King also opened 39 new stores in 13 states across the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest.
"The number of openings and signings the brand executed in top development markets during the first half of 2016 highlights Smoothie King's momentum —many of our current franchisees are seeing amazing sales and successes across the system, and they want to continue expanding with us. Interested candidates are eagerly joining the system to purchase open territories before they are sold out," said Tom O'Keefe, Smoothie King's President and Chief Operating Officer.
To aid in the brand's ongoing expansion efforts, Smoothie King brought on Kevin King as the new Chief Development Officer in May. With a background working for well-known franchises including Domino’s Pizza and Papa Murphy's, King will lead franchise development initiatives as the brand works toward its goal of having 1,000 locations open by the end of 2017.
The demand for Smoothie King is not only evident in its ongoing development strides, but in its latest widespread consumer praise, too. In April, Smoothie King was voted the No. 1 brand in the Limited-Service Restaurant Beverage-Snack category in the 2016 edition of Nation's Restaurant News' Consumer Picks issue. To win the title in this category, Smoothie King beat out brands like Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts.
All of Smoothie King's recent accolades come after more than 850 Smoothie King corporate team members, partner vendors and franchisees gathered in New Orleans for the brand's 2016 Franchise Convention at the end of March. The brand featured its initiatives for the future, offered informative breakout sessions, featured an onsite vendor fair and showcased some of today’s best products in the health and wellness industry. The brand also recognizes its top performers with the King's Club award, which is bestowed upon franchisees whose stores grossed $500,000 or more in annual sales. This year, 184 stores received this honor. In 2010, only 26 franchisees earned this award, showing more than 600% growth in five short years.
"What makes our brand so unique is a team that is focused on expansion. Reaching new markets and new guests is what we do every day to ensure we reach our vision: to be an integral part of every health and fitness plan," Kim said. "This first half of 2016 puts Smoothie King on track to reach 1,000 locations globally by 2017, and with openings in Dubai and Trinidad and Tobago set for the third quarter, there is no stopping our international reach and expansion opportunities."