Multi-unit franchising can be a successful way for individual entrepreneurs and investment groups to facilitate growth and wealth creation.
However, a rapidly expanding segment of franchisees are not only multi-unit investors, but multi-brand owners as well – particularly within the restaurant segment. Operators are seeking out ways to diversify their investments to mitigate risk and find ways to maintain growth within their specific markets or to grow in new markets.
With simplified operations and a model that can support multi-unit development, Smoothie King offers multi-unit/multi-brand franchisees several incentives as they consider growing their franchise portfolio.
1. Franchise Sales Growth and Achievements — AUV and EBITDA
In 2021, Smoothie King set a new record for average unit volume (AUV) of $834,562 for the top 25% of franchised units in operation, as well as a first-time store-level EBITDA of 20%. We’ve seen tremendous store-level success thanks to our digital performance, which includes the healthy rewards app, online ordering for pickup and delivery, several third-party delivery partners and the introduction of tablet devices for drive-thru locations.
This achievement demonstrates our commitment to store profitability and franchisee growth. Wan Kim, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Smoothie King, is a firm believer our new products and system-wide initiatives will help us grow in the future.
“In the wake of a global health crisis, inspiring people to live healthy and active lifestyles has proven to be instrumental to our growth and has helped introduce our brand to new guests,” said Wan.
As we head into 2022, we’re focused on helping our franchisees attain higher unit volume and EBITDA through operational efficiency and new technology, and staying dedicated to our mission and vision through new product launches and system-wide initiatives.
2. A Restaurant Franchise with Simple Operations
Multi-unit/multi-brand operators are often able to scale by dividing and conquering from an operational perspective, handing off the primary role of location oversight to a general manager or a layer of senior-level management. The more complicated the concept, the more oversight multi-unit franchisees may need to ensure their investment can operate at peak levels, at least during the initial stages.
A simple business concept like Smoothie King can reduce the level of complexity from multiple perspectives. First, we maintain a singular focus on a core product– smoothies. Second, franchisees and their team members have no need for cooking equipment like ovens or stoves to get products in the hands of guests. The main items operators require are blenders, refrigerators and freezers, which can save money on equipment.
3. Low Capital Investment for a Smoothie Franchise
The more moving parts you add to a restaurant’s daily operations, the more it may cost to run. For example, operating a full-service restaurant can require a significant amount of capital upfront to purchase everything from food, cooking and baking equipment to storage, disposal, ventilation and other expenses related to customer service.
When it comes to operating a smoothie bar concept, smoothie franchises often have a limited footprint, meaning multi-unit franchisees may have a lower initial investment than full-service brands, and the ongoing costs for rent and licensing may be lower as well.
4. Complementary to Other Franchise Concepts
Smoothie King’s mission is to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle, so the brand is a natural complement to other fitness concepts.
For example, in 2018, multi-unit/multi-brand investor John Clancy and his group, Smoothie King Midwest, committed to opening 60 locations. Clancy and his partner, Bob Viani, both invested in fitness franchise brands and saw significant synergies in pursuing a development agreement with Smoothie King.
An advantage of investing in a complementary franchise brand for multi-unit growth is being able to provide customers of the existing concept with a new product or service that already aligns with their wants, needs and values. So, a fitness franchise multi-unit owner can position Smoothie King’s better-for-you products as the ideal pre- or post-workout option.
Another benefit is being able to expand within an existing market where saturation may have left a multi-unit owner with few options to grow their portfolio. Multi-unit investors can use knowledge of a local market to select the right concept that will resonate with existing demographics.
Strong Growth Opportunities Across the U.S.
At more than 1,300 units strong, Smoothie King is an industry-leading franchise brand operating in 34 states across the U.S. and 3 countries internationally.