When Smoothie King founder Steve Kuhnau started blending Smoothies With a Purpose® in 1973, the industry was nearly non-existent. Part of a $3 billion industry, smoothies are now one of the fastest-growing segments in the beverage market.
While the market is growing, Smoothie King has never been the type of brand to get complacent. We have stayed true to our core values – great-tasting, authentic and better-for-you smoothies that help guests achieve their wellness goals – and we strive to stay ahead of consumer trends.
We hit a number of milestones in 2018, and plan to continue hitting milestones in 2019 by putting our product and franchise opportunity at the forefront of the industry.
A Year Marked by Milestones and Accolades
In 2018, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Smoothie King among the top 25 brands in its annual Franchisee 500 list, cementing our place as the leading smoothie franchise brand.
Last year, master franchisee-turned-CEO, Wan Kim, also received recognition for the growth and innovation our brand has seen. Nation’s Restaurant News named him a Golden Chain award winner, a high honor within the restaurant industry.
Photo courtesy of: Ron Ruggless
Alongside other industry leaders, Wan Kim was recognized as one of the best in the restaurant industry. Award winners were selected for running industry-leading operations, mentoring top teams and creating opportunities for others.
Not only that, we opened more than 100 Smoothie King franchises in 2018, more than any single year in our entire history. We accomplished another growth milestone – 1,000 locations across the world.
Big Changes for Our Growing Brand
Last year, we made another big move – relocating our New Orleans-based headquarters to the burgeoning Dallas market. We have not forgotten our beloved Louisiana roots – we rolled out our King Cake smoothies for Mardi Gras – but the Dallas area provided us with some key elements that should help grow the brand.
More than three times the size of NOLA, Dallas houses one of the widest – and fastest-growing – talent pools in the country. Complete with two major airports, and positioned among other sprawling cities, Dallas is also the perfect, convenient setting to host meetings for our increasingly international brand.
Our new corporate headquarters is also situated near a small lake that will eventually be encircled by a running and bike path corporate employees can take advantage of. With a more open office layout, standing desks and the opportunity to pursue their fitness goals right outside the office, our new location reflects our broader vision to play an integral role in everyone’s wellness journey.
With our plans for growth and commitment to our brand mission, 2018 was the perfect time to make the move to Dallas.
Keeping Things Clean in 2019
Last year also marked the roll-out of our Clean Blends initiative – a menu upgrade we had been working toward for years and one we plan to continue and build upon in 2019. When we launched the Clean Blends initiative, we aimed to make cleaner eating more accessible to everyone, recognizing this is something our guests wanted. As part of the campaign, we’ve eliminated all:
- Artificial flavors, artificial colors and artificial preservatives
- GMO fruits and vegetables
- Added hormones
- Hydrogenated oils
- Ingredients prohibited by any regulatory lists monitored by NSF
- Trans fats
- High-fructose corn syrup
We’re also in the process of removing added sugars from many of our blends, along with incorporating more whole fruits and vegetables into our smoothie options. With this initiative, we’ve drawn on our mission and improved our even better-for-you product line – but we’re not done yet. By the end of 2019, all Smoothie King locations will roll out the Clean Blends initiative.
What’s Next for the Smoothie King Franchise Brand?
We’re always looking for ways to build on our brand’s success and improve our offerings.
That means staying ahead of consumer trends and catalyzing rapid and sustainable brand growth – all while staying true to our mission. And as we focus on delivering an exceptional product to guests, we also aim to provide a second-to-none business opportunity for franchisees.
From menu innovation and continuous operational improvements to agile marketing campaigns and rewards app upgrades, we continue to set the standard for the smoothie industry.