NEW ORLEANS – Smoothie King, the New Orleans based innovator of the smoothie segment, closed 2015 with 78 signed agreements to develop 152 new units. With 774 units behind them and plans to open 123 more locations in 2016, the brand is well on its way to achieve its goal of having 1,000 open locations by the end of 2017.
“With another successful year coming to a close, Smoothie King’s steady 50% growth trajectory is only quickening. At this rate, we’re on pace and projected to open more locations by the end of this year over last year,” said Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King. “Since I purchased the company in July of 2012, we have had positive same-store-sales for 41 out of 42 months. The success of 2015 marks six consecutive years of impressive growth, ending the year with a strong 9.8 percent same-store-sales increase over 2014. We also had a magnificent fourth quarter, recording a striking 11.9 percent same-store-sales increase compared to Q4 of 2014.”
2015 saw 86 new locations open, which is 24 more than in 2014. Smoothie King also broadened its international scope after confirming plans to open locations in the Middle East and Vietnam—markets that were previously untapped.
“We’re finding that people all over the world align with our mission to help guests in local communities everywhere live healthier and more active lifestyles,” Kim said. “We started out with this mission and have been fortunate to find terrific partners who eat, breathe and sleep this mission. This alignment in mentality has helped us to be successful in each new market we open in, as well as overall as a brand.”
According to Smoothie King Franchise Development Manager Stephen Foley, the brand’s strategy is to take new markets that have been successful, and build around them to increase brand presence and gain market share. This strategy proved to be successful as this year was marked by another important milestone—signings and openings in two key growth targets: Illinois and New Jersey.
As a previously untouched market for the brand, Chicago’s cultural influences in various areas like sports, film, theater, music and food—along with its 2.7 million residents—make it a unique opportunity for Smoothie King’s continuous development. The market has potential for 85 new locations in the city proper and surrounding Chicagoland suburbs, and with two franchisee groups already signing multi-unit deals, Smoothie King believes its aggressive expansion plan for the area will put the brand even closer to its 1,000-unit goal.
With a secure foothold in the South and significant progress with new deals in the Midwest, Smoothie King is also climbing up the East Coast with New Jersey targeted as another major hub for growth. The brand currently has 12 open locations in the state, with a few additional locations in development, and a plethora of open territories ripe for candidates interested in joining the growing brand.
“We have such a unique opportunity in New Jersey and Illinois because they’re wide-open markets for us and they’re also markets where there is a demand for our product,” Foley said. “Because of the extremely populated areas and lack of quality smoothie options in each market area, we believe that opening in these states will help Smoothie King continue to achieve record-breaking growth.”
This year, Smoothie King aims to sign 150 franchise agreements, with plans to target additional territories including Denver, Boston, Virginia, Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia.
“The franchise opportunity with Smoothie King allows business owners to operate a brand that coincides with their own personal mission to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” Kim said. “As the company enters its 43rd year in business, I am pleased to see that ‘smoothies with a purpose’ have proved to leave a lasting effect on communities across the world. As we continue to add more franchises, we’re looking forward to impacting the lives of both our guests and our franchisees.”