New Orleans City Business: After Entering Markets in Middle East & Vietnam, Smoothie King Shows No Signs of Slowing Down
New Orleans City Business: After Entering Markets in Middle East & Vietnam, Smoothie King Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

The brand's foray into the international market is profiled by the publication.

After entering Vietnam and the Middle East in 2015, Smoothie King’s growth shows no signs of slowing.
In 2016, the Metairie-based company plans to enter into two additional international markets, according to a company executive. The deals have not been finalized but are budgeted for the next fiscal year. Tentative plans are to announce the markets in July. The news comes after record-breaking expansions into untapped markets for the company, both domestically and internationally.
In Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual “Franchise 500” rankings, Smoothie King ranked No. 92 out of more than 1,000 submitted franchise brands, and the company took the No. 1 spot in its category.
Smoothie King has closed on deals in several major U.S. markets including St. Louis and Dallas. The company, which has over 50 employees at its corporate headquarters in Metairie, has 700 locations globally and plans on 1,000 locations by 2017. The 43-year-old company was purchased by Wan Kim in July 2012.
Kim said they will continue to expand internationally but will “not move too fast.” Smoothie King will only expand into two to three countries per year.
“In some way, we are really a 3-year startup,” said Smoothie King President and COO Tom O'Keefe. “There has been a lot that has changed in the business. We have a nice confluence of positive events coming together, and it has really elevated the brand.”
O’Keefe told New Orleans City Business the strategy in the U.S. remains aggressive. Last year, Smoothie King opened 86 stores in 21 different states.
On the domestic side, Smoothie King is targeting another 120 stores. Last year’s increase was about a 60 percent increase compared to the previous year’s development. They expect another 50 percent increase in 2016 and a 180 percent projected increase in 2017. Smoothie King was founded in 1973 with a focus on offering an array of retail products, including sports beverages, energy bars, vitamins and supplements. In 1989, it became the first smoothie franchise in the U.S. In 2014, the New Orleans Arena was renamed the Smoothie King Center.
The concept has even seen success in cooler climates. Some stores opened last year in Wisconsin, Nebraska and Pennsylvania, which were previously perceived as being too seasonal, he said.
“With our meal replacement strategy, the consumers are understanding that the brand has more purpose than just a snack,” he said.
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