Waxing nostalgic about the bygone days of high school’s youthful rebellion and tantalizing possibility usually spurs a reel of suburban landscapes, glowing football stadium lights and endless nighttime cruises. For Smoothie King product development manager and food scientist Davis Jaeger, Smoothie King flutters through that whirl of memories, too.
Jaeger had always held a passion for food and planned on pursuing it as a career, working in restaurants since he was a teenager. One day in particular continues to stand at the forefront of Jaeger’s mind.
“It was my first day and the head chef picked me out of the line and pulled me into the kitchen,” Jaeger said. “I spent the whole night cutting onions and never truly left the kitchen since.”
Rather than sinking money into culinary school, Jaeger opted to learn pragmatically—working from the bottom-up in the best kitchens he could find. After a whirlwind decade in the culinary industry as a chef, Jaeger decided that it was time for a job with more stability, reasonable hours and prospects for building a robust future.
Jaeger decided to pursue a degree in food science and culinology at Clemson University. Educating himself in chemistry and biochemistry and much more, Jaeger had a wealth of opportunity before him upon graduation and immediately began working throughout the country, landing him at Pinnacle Foods Corporation in New Jersey.
Growing tired of the grind of the East Coast, Jaeger and his wife began searching for prospects down South. In early 2014, happenstance and his fond memories of the brand led Jaeger to his current role as product development manager and food scientist at Smoothie King.
“My first memory of Smoothie King is of the location that was right across the street from my high school,” Jaeger recalled. “We would hang out there before football games every week. I remember walking into the store and the smell of fruit and vanilla being intoxicating. It reminds me of home. It reminds me of health and wellness.”
“I think it’s somewhat unique in that we can compete against both quick service restaurants and fast casual,” Jaeger said. “We embody health and wellness in a convenient and casual environment. Smoothie King offers a robust, quick, nutritious product and some meal replacements. Something I probably wasn’t thinking about in my high school days!”
Aside from its delicious traditional fruit smoothies, Smoothie King regularly innovates within the healthy beverage space. Jaeger has seen vegetable-based smoothies, Greek yogurt smoothies and a vegan line prosper as the world has become more health-conscious.
“Ultimately, we want to continue doing what we do best—delivering quick, flavorful, nutritious options to guests while being hypersensitive to trends and diets,” Jaeger said. “We’re looking ahead to global expansion, but we also want to make sure that we’re at our greatest possible.”
On the heels of a Middle East expansion and setting sights far beyond, Smoothie King is prospering. The brand currently boasts more than 700 locations worldwide and plans to top 1,000 locations internationally by the end of 2017, providing guests around the world with nutritional solutions that live up to the brand’s founding vision to create “Smoothies With a Purpose.”
“We’re getting our feet wet and we’re about to jump in the water,” Jaeger said.