The Smoothies with a Purpose® brand opened 28 new stores in 15 states, expanding its footprint in the southwest, north and west.
On the heels of a solid 2016, Smoothie King, the global franchise brand featuring “Smoothies With A Purpose®,” closed the first quarter of 2017 with similar success, opening 28 new stores in 15 states, signing 34 franchise and development agreements for 48 new stores and achieving a 4.5 percent same-store sales increase. With an ambitious plan to open 125 new stores in 2017, 25 percent more than in 2016, Smoothie King is well on its way to achieving this goal.
March was a record-breaking month for franchise sales, with 18 franchise and development agreements signed for 26 stores, the most signed in one month without offering incentives in the 44-year history of the brand. Opening an average of 2.3 new stores per week during January, February and March, Smoothie King continues to outperform quarter over quarter as the company works toward achieving its vision to be an integral part of every guest’s health and fitness plan.
"We have enjoyed five consecutive years of same-store sales growth, with the last three years coming in at over 9 percent," said Kevin King, chief development officer of Smoothie King. "Our franchisees are attracted to the system because of our simple business model; lower initial investment, labor and food costs relative to other QSRs; and commitment to inspiring people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Their passion for the product, for the brand and for their local communities fuels our growth -- and this past quarter was no exception.”
To further illustrate its commitment to finding dedicated franchisees that are cemented in their local communities, Smoothie King launched The Smoothie King First Responders Initiative in April, designed to help law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians open their own franchise business. The program offers first responders with at least ten years of service 20 percent off the initial franchise fee, and the brand is looking forward to bringing new franchisees into the system with a background in serving their communities.
In addition to its strong franchise development initiatives in Q1, Smoothie King focused on increasing general consumer understanding of Smoothie King smoothies becoming meal replacements. Two standout marketing campaigns drove sales and rose brand awareness -- the new and improved Slim-N-Trim lines, featuring high-protein smoothies under 250 calories per 20-oz. cup; and the Change a Meal Challenge, which encourages guests to replace one meal a day with a smoothie as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. The Smoothie King home office team held its own internal challenge in which team members committed to making small changes for personal wellbeing by launching their own Change a Meal Challenge with a heightened focus on achieving fitness goals and smart eating habits in the first quarter of the year.
"Smoothie King’s main differentiations within the category as a meal replacement while also providing consumers a variety of Smoothies With A Purpose® is a strategy that has continued to drive our growth," said Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King. "With a two-year combined same-store sales increase of more than 19 percent, we know that we are delivering the right type of product to guests and working with the right franchisees to carry out our mission in new markets across the country.”
Other marketing programs launched in Q1 include a national TV campaign and a new loyalty program. Smoothie King Healthy Rewards allows guests to earn points on every purchase to redeem for free and discounted smoothies, exclusive and personalized offers and discounts, access to new products and more. The brand also launched its first national TV campaign in March, promoting its Slim-N-Trim and Mango product rollouts with 12 weeks of 15 second and 30 second commercials across nine networks.
"Our mission is to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle, which is exactly what consumers are seeking right now as they become more educated about what they eat," said Kim. "Our great tasting smoothies fulfill multiple purposes for our guests, and Smoothie King will continue to pursue innovation in guest experience and recruit more passionate franchisees to continue our aggressive nationwide growth.”