In just 15 years, Wan Kim has gone from opening his first Smoothie King location in South Korea to owning 120 stores to becoming CEO of Smoothie King. And now, he can add Golden Chain Award winner to his long list of accomplishments.
Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual Golden Chain Awards honor the best in the restaurant industry. Award winners run industry-leading operations, mentor top teams and create opportunities for others. The award also celebrates leaders’ recent achievements, including steps taken over the 18 months that resulted in improved business performance.
Wan attributes much of his success with Smoothie King – and this award win – to Smoothie King’s strong mission and vision and guests’ passion for the brand.
A Brand with a Purpose
Inspiring people to live healthy and active lifestyles is embedded in our DNA. From top to bottom, every member of our franchise system believes in the Smoothie King mission, which sets us apart from other franchisors.
“I really make sure that the people who run our system really care about inspiring people to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” Wan said.
From the start, Wan makes sure that every franchisee understands and adheres to the Smoothie King mission, and he ensures ongoing commitment to the vision by holding a webinar or meeting franchisees in person every 3 – 6 months. He uses those meetings to discuss the latest trends, where the brand is heading and explain how the company’s decisions tie into the mission and vision.
Committing to Smoothie King’s mission at every level gives us purpose and, in turn, helps our customers achieve theirs.
“Smoothies are the tool we use to communicate with our guests, but that’s not what we are selling,” Wan said. “We are selling the purpose.”
The Smoothie King Mission Excites Guests
While Wan recognizes the importance of financial performance as a businessman, he has always been less focused on numbers and more concerned with making Smoothie King a part of guests’ lifestyles. We’ve accomplished that by selling Smoothies With A Purpose® and helping our guests accomplish their fitness goals.
“I strongly believe that when our guests see Smoothie King as an integral part of their health and fitness journey, the numbers will follow,” Wan said.
Smoothie King has become a part of many of our guests’ daily routines and created brand advocates by listening to their needs, pursuing our mission and vision and developing new products and initiatives accordingly.
In order to be successful, Wan said, “You really need to understand what guests are saying based on what your mission and vision are, and stick with it.”
Our commitment to our guests’ goals is what has helped us grow to be a franchise with 1,000 locations, and it is also ultimately what helped Wan win the 2018 Golden Chain Award.
“They [NRN] are recognizing me, but I think I am getting this award because of our guests’ passion and love for Smoothie King,” said Wan.
Expanding the Smoothie Industry
As more players have entered the smoothie industry, Wan mentioned the perception of what a smoothie is has become diluted, with more people viewing smoothies as treats or snacks. However, he believes that as the first smoothie brand in the country, Smoothie King has the obligation to change that public perception.
We’ve done so by committing to more nutritious ingredients through our Cleaner Blending Initiative, creating all of our smoothies with a specific purpose in mind and providing meal replacement smoothies that inspire our guests to live healthy and active lifestyles.
With the Cleaner Blending Initiative and better-for-you meal replacement options, Smoothie King is not only working to shape public perception, we’re also solidifying our position in the marketplace and expanding the industry.
“I really don’t think any other smoothie chain is going where we are heading,” said Wan.
At Smoothie King, we are proud to have a leader who is committed to our brand’s purpose and growth. Wan will be celebrated alongside this year’s other Golden Chain Award winners during a gala at NRN’s MUFSO conference, held Oct. 1-3 in Dallas.
If you are interested in joining a franchise that runs industry-leading operations, mentors top teams and creates opportunities for others, download the Smoothie King franchise kit today.