Tisha Skinner was the first franchisee to open a single-branded Smoothie King in an airport. Her pathway leading up to that point was marked by overcoming obstacles. Initially, she opened a Smoothie King in Atlanta right before the Great Recession hit in 2006. She eventually closed the location, regrouped, and moved to Maryland to open another Smoothie King.
Reaching New Heights with a Hands-on Approach
When Tisha saw an opportunity to open a Smoothie King store in a non-traditional location at Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport, she jumped at the chance.
“I used to travel a lot, and there were never many restaurant options in the airport other than fast food,” Tisha said. “For this reason, I was especially excited to open a Smoothie King at BWI. I knew it would give people a better on-the-go option, and they could quickly and easily get a real fruit smoothie.”
More and more franchisees are looking to non-traditional locations to expand their businesses because of the many benefits. For example:
- Foot traffic in airports is never an issue, so Tisha’s Smoothie King is regularly busy with guests eagerly awaiting their better-for-you smoothies
- Many of Tisha’s guests have never been to Smoothie King before, so she is always in her store to make sure their first experience will convert them into a repeat Smoothie King goer
“Having a Smoothie King in the airport is great brand exposure,” said Tisha. “I am in the store every day to make sure we are giving our guests an exceptional product and experience. I’m very hands-on, and I know the guests appreciate that.”
Preparing for Turbulence in a Non-Traditional Smoothie Bar
Even with all the advantages of opening in a non-traditional location, the restaurants are not without challenges. Fortunately, Tisha has been able to turn those obstacles into opportunities.
Tisha’s Smoothie King store has unique hours. Since airports have different peak times than traditional restaurant locations, she’s developed a schedule that helps maximize foot traffic. Her store opens at 4 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m., providing plenty of opportunities for sales but requiring a distinct staffing structure.
Tisha’s team members work regular shifts, but the timing of the shifts is different from other Smoothie King stores. So, when she’s hiring new team members, she has specific priorities.
“I need to be confident when I’m hiring that the candidates I’m looking at are reliable and flexible,” said Tisha.
Tisha and her staff are also busy during holidays due to the spike in travelers – something that differentiates her Smoothie King from others as well. This allows them more opportunities to generate revenue at times when other restaurants would be closed, but requires an extra commitment from her team members.
After 10 years with Smoothie King and multi-unit expansion, Tisha shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Her airport Smoothie King location has consistently exceeded her sales expectations, despite being only 400 square feet in size. She is celebrating her one-year anniversary this December and is looking forward to working toward continued success.
If you’re interested in becoming part of an international brand with opportunities in non-traditional locations, download our Franchise Kit.