How Smoothie King Stays Functionally Trendy

Smoothie King's franchise functional trendiness in Houston, Texas.

When Smoothie King started in 1973, the concept of smoothies wasn’t a revolutionary idea. In fact, a decade before Steve Kuhnau founded the very first Smoothie King, smoothies were already popular mainstays at ice cream shops and health food stores. However, Smoothie King made it a point to differentiate its product by being more purpose-driven than its competitors.

As the brand continued to diversify its menu, it created smoothies to serve a wide range of individual purposes for guests as part of a sensible diet and regular exercise routine, including:

  • Exercise recovery
  • Muscle building
  • Weight gain
  • Taking a break

The brand makes it a point to ask all of its guests: “What’s your purpose today?” Each franchisee and employee seeks to give their guests a product that will best suit their needs.

At the same time, the health and wellness industry constantly experiences waves of fads and trends, presenting a challenge to restaurant operators on how to balance the innovation of products with adhering to their core values.

Balancing Trends with Serving Guests’ Goals

According to Smoothie King’s Vice President of Product Development Rocky Gettys, any new product innovation has to reflect current health trends—but more importantly, to remain true to serving smoothies with a purpose, it must help guests achieve their nutrition and wellness goals.

“In terms of innovation, we focus first on our guests and the lifestyle they’re trying to reach through our smoothies,” said Rocky. “We start by asking ourselves how a new trend will help our guests achieve their purpose and then what specific functional ingredients we should use and if it makes sense.”

Unlike other food franchise concepts, people who generally consume smoothies on a regular basis approach them from a nutrition and wellness standpoint. That means Smoothie King’s development department spends a long time looking at macronutrients, protein, carbs, fat, and sugar content before introducing any new smoothie. There are no shortcuts.

Smoothie King spends a great deal of time researching and monitoring dietary trends and crafting its smoothies to fit the long-term needs of its customer base.  There’s not a single smoothie sold in any of the brand’s 800+ stores that were created to simply satisfy an existing trend.

“Right now, fat is still the No. 1 concern when it comes to diet, but more recently, we’ve recognized sugar content is gradually catching up,” added Rocky. “Within the next year or so, sugar will surpass fat as the top priority. Seeing this on the horizon, we started working on ways to reduce sugar in our smoothies five years ago.”

Staying true to its word, Smoothie King has taken steps to reduce the sugar content of its smoothies by about 16 percent across the entire menu in the past five years.

A Franchise Opportunity with a Purpose

Smoothie King’s mission is to inspire people to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Every smoothie the smoothie franchise creates is inevitably tied to that purpose. While constantly trying to evolve its product offering to stay “on-trend,” the brand does everything in its power to never veer from its original purpose.

Are you looking for a purpose-driven business opportunity? Learn more about becoming a Smoothie King franchisee by downloading our Franchise Kit.


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