Iyas Abuhasna, a multi-unit Smoothie King franchise owner based in the Chicagoland area, was craving a smoothie while visiting New Orleans.
“Growing up in Dubai, there was a smoothie place on every corner. We always had access to a wide variety of really fresh, delicious smoothies. It was a staple,” Iyas said.
His search for the perfect smoothie always came up short.
“I didn’t find anything I liked until I tried Smoothie King,” he added. “When I tried it, I instantly loved it.”
Iyas came to the United States to pursue his MBA, with the intention to return home after. However, an unexpected business opportunity kept him in the U.S.
When he discovered our smoothies, Iyas was already an experienced entrepreneur with several businesses to his name, including a cereal and granola brand and other online businesses. As a business owner looking to diversify his portfolio, franchising caught his interest.
After falling in love with our smoothies, Iyas looked into our franchising opportunity.
High-Quality Smoothies with the Reputation to Match
After researching, Iyas noticed our strong franchise reviews and was determined to buy a smoothie franchise.
“It seemed like all of the franchisees loved Smoothie King,” he explained. “I reached out to a few franchisees and asked about their experience and the costs, and they all really liked it,” he said.
Within the same week of contacting our franchisee team, Iyas was approved and started the process to become a franchisee, signing a development agreement to open three locations.
With the support of our franchise team, Iyas opened Chicagoland’s first Smoothie King located in Evergreen Park, IL in July 2017. His second store opened in Orland Park, IL in December 2020 and his third store in Homewood, IL will open this October.
“The Smoothie King team has been great with support, especially throughout the pandemic. They are genuine people who want to help you succeed,” Iyas said.
Nothing Beats Good Guest Service
While he’s an experienced business owner, Iyas credits his background in marketing and his devotion to kindness for guiding him as a new franchisee.
“Every time I onboard a new team member, I let them know that guest service is my main focus,” Iyas added. “I explain that good guest service will not only bring in more business, but it will help them be better people. You have to be nice to people to be a good human.”
To maintain a high level of guest service at his stores, a positive, friendly personality and strong work ethic are the top qualities Iyas looks for when hiring his employees.
“I try to hire people with good guest service as much as I can,” he added. “I like to hire people that laugh and smile a lot.”
To Iyas’ surprise, his devotion to guest service paid off in more ways than one, namely with increased delivery and off-premise consumption and Smoothie King app usage.
Happy Customers = Brand Loyalty
When national and local shelter-in-place orders shook the nation and delivery and curbside pickup became the norm, Iyas’ Smoothie King locations saw an increase in delivery, which has continued to grow even with the return of indoor dining.
“We didn’t do anything specific to increase our delivery rates,” he said. “We just constantly let our guests know that our app is convenient and it can help them save money. We also explain all of the app’s functions and show them how it works.”
Iyas’ employees are trained to mention the Smoothie King app to all guests who walk into the store.
“I make sure to model the conversation and set the example of good guest service when I’m communicating with guests at my store, so my employees can see how it’s done,” he added.
Thanks to Iyas’ focus on guest service, his stores have the highest app usage rate and loyalty consumption throughout the entire franchise system.
Moving forward, Iyas plans to open additional Smoothie King locations throughout the midwest area and continue providing guests with the top-notch guest service and quality blends they know and love.