Smoothie Factory was founded by an Olympic athlete James Villasana after he was inspired by his own need to fuel his body with only the highest quality ingredients. Keeping in mind the nutrition, taste, and overall health, he meticulously crafted smoothies that fulfill every requirement of a high-level athlete. He shares, “When I was much younger, training towards becoming an Olympic athlete, I struggled to find healthy and nutritious meal options served quickly and at affordable prices. So, I sought to create smoothies with better ingredients, better nutrition, and a better taste. To me, it was a perfect solution because it was fast, healthy, affordable, and a great-tasting vehicle to take in protein powder multiple times a day. I continued to develop recipes and shared these with my teammates who loved the taste. After earning a spot on the 1992 Olympic Team (Barcelona) and graduating with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management, they encouraged me to open my own juice bar in 1996.”
For 24 good years, Smoothie Factory has been serving every aspiration of a smoothie lover and fitness enthusiast from their premier health and wellness cafes. Their recipes meet the dietary needs of health and quality conscious customers without compromising the taste and provide delicious smoothies along with several other healthy lite foods and drinks at affordable prices. For Smoothie Factory International, ‘Good is never enough”, and with the same sentiment, they have expanded their operations to 24 countries across the globe.
“The plans for Smoothie Factory International are to continue to be an enduring health and wellness brand and to become the most recognized and respected juice bar brand in the world, known for inspiring and nurturing health and wellness.”
At Smoothie Factory, they are passionate about sharing a fresh perspective with their customers towards eating healthy and living a wholesome life. James exclaims, “We could not be prouder of the franchise community we have built over nearly 25 years. The Healthier Side of Life is our collective passion and purpose. It’s easy to love your job when you get to work with great people every day.” Smoothie Factory’s menu offers a balanced mix of innovative and delicious smoothies, juices, juice cleanse programs, frozen yogurt, superfood bowls, coffees, and healthy lite foods having 500 calories or less which makes them much more than a juice bar allowing multiple revenue centers under one roof. However, out of all their offerings, the smoothie has always been the winner when it comes to generating the highest revenue followed by cold-pressed juices. James shares, “Our most popular selling smoothies include Strawberry Patch, Tropical Squeeze, and Very Berry while our most popular cold-pressed juices are Green Detox, Super Citrus C, and The Big 3.”
The ingredients that they use are sourced domestically from the respective countries they serve in which not only helps the local markets but also allows them to provide attractive price points that are affordable for their customers. James says, “A large part of how we achieve an attractive price point, is to develop our menu within the framework of ingredients available in the local market. We purchase based on quality, taste, availability, and cost.” This commitment towards quality at affordable prices is one thing that completely sets Smoothie Factory apart from its competitors along with its consistency. Also, the wide variety of items in their menu meant for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and catering expands its customer base and creates higher average tickets and sales volume. Adding further on this, James asserts, “In many instances, our brand is first-to-market for our type of high-quality products. Our guests are very excited when launching new locations and even more excited after tasting our products.We are always assessing our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and this includes the local competition, regional franchises, and individual store owners. Visiting competitors in various international markets allows us to glean information and helps us assess trends and additional product offerings, if successful, that we may consider implementing ourselves. It also allows us the opportunity to ensure price positioning in the market is competitive.”
“Our perfect franchise candidates are individuals that are honest, team players, hard-working, and have a passion for health and wellness.”
Finding success in the Smoothie Business
Since the beginning, James knew Smoothie Factory would be successful because they made their smoothies with real fruits only, without concentrates, purees, or other fillers. The proof was the richer colors and more natural flavor compared to the local competition. Within the first four months, they broke all records and were asked to franchise in the 7th month of operations. However, a lot has changed in the juice bar industry since 1996. There is a significant increase in the health-oriented population which is extremely aware of their choices and their effects. From keeping a count of calories to keeping a check on their intolerances and allergies, customers know what they need to manage their fitness levels. But James knows if you listen carefully to the guests’ needs and what they ask for, you can keep up with any upcoming trends in the field.
Smoothie Factory’s ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ approach has certainly worked well for their franchisees who are located outside the United States. They ensure they approach each country they are about to enter with an open mind and work towards the development of their stores in that market within that prism. Having international development leading their growth, there is nothing that can stand in the way of the tremendous success that every Smoothie Factory franchise strives to achieve cost-effectively without having to import ingredients from outside. When it comes to choosing the owners for Smoothie Factory, James has a simple criterion, he shares, “Our perfect franchise candidates are individuals that are honest, team players, hard-working, and have a passion for health and wellness. We prefer candidates that have previous experience in either the retail, marketing, or hospitality industry, whether it be in hotels or restaurants, as they often bring experience, skill sets, and previous training that is helpful to the operation and success of their store.”
Setting up franchises to break even from the start!
Beyond initial support which includes site selection & lease negotiations, product development to localize the menu, marketing strategies, store design & construction, and sourcing of equipment and ingredients, Smoothie Factory works hard with their franchisees to help them reach their maximum potential and guides them by providing a well-crafted system of operations coupled with their world-class training and ongoing support. Their master franchise partners receive a 5-weeks intensive training within their home country so that the complete team can attend without any inconvenience or additional cost. Moving further, their ongoing support includes continuing product development and menu engineering, sales training for sub-franchising, purchasing and logistics, formulations of marketing plans, and analysis of certain key performance indicators such as sales and store audits. James affirms, “We want our franchise partners to know that our decisions affecting their profitability won’t be compromised by additional profits or rebates. The reason is simple, the same owners of Smoothie Factory International today are the same owners that founded the company and opened the first Smoothie Factory store in 1996. So, we have a deep understanding of an owner-operator perspective.”
As for their future as a global franchise, James asserts, “The plans for Smoothie Factory International are to continue to be an enduring health and wellness brand and to become the most recognized and respected juice bar brand in the world, known for inspiring and nurturing health and wellness.”