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Celebrating 25 Years of Business, Robeks Is Having Its Best Year To Date

Starting as a local Southern California smoothie joint and growing into a 100-unit franchise, continued innovation has propelled the brand to its most successful sales year to date, with no signs of slowing down.

By Tracey Willmott1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 2:14PM 06/29/21

In 1996, David Robertson opened the first Robeks location near the Los Angeles International Airport after his smoothie obsession pushed him to create a place where everyone could get all of their vitamins and vegetables in one delicious package. Fast forward to 2021, and the Los Angeles-based fresh juice, smoothie and acai bowl franchise is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary with more than 85 locations operating in 12 states across the country. 

Not only has Robeks seen large-scale growth over the past 25 years but, like a fine wine, the brand has only gotten better with age: 2021 is already gearing up to be its best year yet. Year to date, sales are up a whopping 60% compared to 2020 and up 35% compared to 2019. 

So what is Robeks’ secret to success? 

Taste and Innovation Keeps the Robeks Menu Refreshing

When it comes to menu items, Robeks puts taste above all else. Obviously, health is a close second-tier priority, but the brand knows that customers will only stay excited about their healthy offerings if they taste great. And the best way to craft a menu that resonates? By prioritizing customer feedback and continuing to adapt its menu in order to keep things fresh. 

“Innovation has always been a big focus of ours and will continue to be so,” said David Rawnsley, Robeks’ president. “Our team is constantly in the market, spotting upcoming trending ingredients and analyzing what consumers gravitate towards, which allows us to react in a nimble way. We were one of the first brands to put greens in our smoothies, and we had a line of almond milk products before nut milks became a common non-dairy offering.”

More than two decades later, Robeks is still taking steps to refresh its menu. Recently, the brand launched new avocado and almond butter toasts in addition to a variety of low-carb, low-sugar, keto-friendly menu items. As today’s consumers become increasingly health-conscious and begin to demand a wider variety from their favorite brands, Robeks is stepping up to the plate to provide healthy and exciting options.

The Robeks Business Model Is Ripe for Growth

Robeks’ methodical approach to franchise area development has set the brand up for sustained and consistent growth over the years. By focusing on a few key markets rather than trying to be everywhere at once has allowed Robeks to build strong brand awareness and a loyal fan base over the years. 

“Our stores are located in several major markets nationwide,” said Rawnsley. “Our focus has always been to grow from the inside of those markets out, which creates a lot of logistical complements both from a supply chain and food cost perspective.”

Being in the quick service industry also allows Robeks to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and larger economic shifts, such as a pandemic. While the majority of Robeks business is takeout, the demand for delivery saw a huge spike during the pandemic. As a result, Robeks is currently available for both online ordering and delivery on multiple platforms in order to better serve the needs of its customers in the community. Additionally, the brand is launching a brand new mobile ordering app and rewards platform later this summer and is currently testing improvements to its in-store pick up system in order to optimize convenience and communication.

It’s All About the Franchisees

Robeks understands that the heart of the brand is its franchisees, which is evident in the support it provides from a corporate level. Recently, the brand developed its first corporate location in October, which provides the executive team with an unfiltered view of daily life for Robeks owners. 

“There is no more important stakeholder in our system than the franchisees,” said Rawnsley. “Being a franchisee myself for a number of years, I’m always looking at the brand through this lens. We don’t want to make any overarching brand decisions without first experiencing what goes on in a store on a daily basis.”

Tariq Johnson opened a brand new Robeks franchise in California in 2017. The Robeks team not only helped him build a successful business from the ground up, but they provided unwavering support when he and his family moved cross-country a year later and took over an existing Robeks operation.

“The greatest thing is that when you need help, the corporate team is always there for you,” said Johnson. “With their help, I was able to be profitable in two months with our first store. They really care about the success of franchisees and work closely with owners to help us grow. They win when you win.”

What the Next 25 Years Look Like for Robeks

According to Rawnsley, Robeks’ franchise development efforts are well above what was expected at this point in the year. The goal is to award 30 new franchise agreements in 2021, and Robeks is on pace with thus far.

Overall, the brand intends to focus on creating new products and incorporating technology where possible to improve the customer experience, which includes improving the mobile app and restructuring their loyalty program.

Although not every detail of the next 25 years is set in stone, one thing is for sure — Robeks has come a long way from the Southern California smoothie joint of 1996 and has a bright and healthy future ahead. 

Robeks investments range from $228,450 to $340,000 and include all franchise fees. For more information about franchising with Robeks visit: