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Robeks Provides Valued Franchisees With Solid Support During Challenging Economic Climate

The emerging smoothie brand is taking several measures to ensure franchisees feel supported at this time, including increased communication and royalty and marketing abatement programs.

By Cristina Merrill1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 12:12PM 01/29/21

Restaurant brands are finding themselves in an unprecedented situation due to COVID-19, including Robeks. Despite the challenges that the pandemic presents, the smoothie concept, which was founded in 1996 and began franchising in 2001, is eager to continue supporting franchisees during this difficult time and ensure they have the resources they need to remain profitable. 

Robeks has always been exceptionally supportive of its franchisees and we plan to continue providing that support during this difficult time,” Vice President of Marketing Mitch Baker said. “We believe very strongly in supporting our franchisees, and their feedback on our support has been stellar. It’s very heartwarming to know that we’re able to do things that allow our franchisees to stay open and keep generating traffic.” 

During the COVID-19 crisis, the grab-and-go smoothie brand’s leadership team has increased communication with franchisees. There are almost daily webinars and frequent regional town halls, regular emails and one-on-one conversations between individual franchisees and leadership team members. The leadership team is also providing franchisees with guidance on requesting rent relief and obtaining financial assistance. The brand has shown its own financial support, as it began to offer full abatement of royalty and marketing fees on March 23 and will continue to do so through April 30. 

“Frequently communicating with franchisees gives them the opportunity to discuss what they’re seeing in their markets and helps the leadership team learn more about how we can provide assistance,” Baker said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit individual communities, cities and states differently, so we want to make sure all of our franchisees have the most up-to-date information and resources.” 

Much corporate assistance has revolved around consumer messaging. The Robeks leadership team has provided franchisees with a variety of resources to help them let their customers know they are open and make it easy for those customers to purchase their favorite products. This support included shipping “We’re Open” banners and window clings and “Social Distancing” signage to stores and enabling curbside pickup within the brand’s mobile ordering app. Robeks also contracted with DoorDash and Postmates to advertise on their third-party platforms. 

The brand has also prioritized maintaining an emotional connection to customers and adapting to their changing needs during the pandemic. This includes providing store signage that states “We’re Still Smiling Under Our Masks” and collaborating with the brand’s food products partner, Dole, to incentivize franchisees to deliver smoothies to healthcare workers and first responders in their communities. The brand is especially focused on families and individuals staying at home, which is why the marketing team created the Robeks Family Pack promotion, which contains two medium-sized Superfood Smoothies, two kid-sized Classic Smoothies and two Lemon Ginger Wellness shots. Robeks also developed three, brand new superfood products that will begin rolling out on May 4. 

Most importantly, Robeks refuses to exploit its product. Baker emphasized that the brand is “staying the course” in terms of consumer messaging and not taking advantage of the current climate to hype up its health-focused products. 

“We’re not telling customers that you need us more than ever to get healthy,” he said. “We are simply reinforcing what Robeks has always been all about since launching the brand almost 25 years ago, which is providing great food that makes people happy. Our goal is to bring our customers a bit of happiness (with some amazing flavor) in this current environment.” 

Ultimately, Baker and the rest of the Robeks leadership team feel optimistic about the brand’s future after COVID-19 and have found reasons to celebrate, such as sales bumps during promotions. Baker noted that the leadership team closely monitors sales and delivery numbers and finds any increases very encouraging. The Robeks leadership team will continue to provide franchisees with nothing less than top-notch support throughout the pandemic and leverage the operationally simple business model to help maintain and even increase the brand’s customer base. 

“Although the COVID-19 crisis stopped our positive momentum, the setback is temporary, and we are in a unique position to emerge from the crisis in a position of relative strength given our products are both healthful and portable,” Baker said. “Consumers will always desire such qualities and the Robeks leadership team is more than willing to help franchisees be the go-to smoothie spots in their markets, both during and after the pandemic.” 

The total estimated cost to open a Robeks franchise ranges from $228,450 to $340,000. The brand offers discounts for veterans and multi-unit owners. For more information, visit