Tropical Smoothie Café, the leading fast casual café concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, announced today it signed a franchisee agreement to open a new restaurant in Charleston, S.C. This marks the award-winning smoothie franchise’s second location in the area, joining the company’s existing Daniel Island restaurant, which opened in October 2015. Tropical Smoothie Café has plans to develop five additional cafés in the Charleston region over the next several years.
The new Charleston café will be owned and operated by RL Investments, comprised of local entrepreneurs Marc Rodenbaugh, Alex Corbishley, Lawrence Rodenbaugh and Kevin Lawler, who has 15 years experience in the restaurant industry and will serve as the café’s operations manager.
“Charleston is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, with a world-famous reputation for its rich culture and history, and we’re thrilled to bring Tropical Smoothie Café to this dynamic and thriving community,” said Marc Rodenbaugh, Tropical Smoothie Café franchisee. “We were introduced to the brand over ten years ago and immediately were impressed with its business model’s proven track-record of success, as well as the company’s commitment to delivering a health-conscious product that is affordable and readily available for consumers on the go. We look forward to providing an exceptional experience and introducing more Charleston residents to the Tropical Smoothie Café concept.”
Tropical Smoothie Café reported its strongest year of growth in 2015, with same-stores sales of 11.25 percent — its sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit positive comp sales — and signed franchise agreements to develop 199 new cafes across the U.S., including about two dozen locations in Southern California. This year, the food and smoothie franchise plans to exceed 550 restaurants nationwide. The brand currently has franchise opportunities across the U.S. in markets such as Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Columbus and Charlotte, among others. By 2018, Tropical Smoothie Café plans to have 800 stores open across the U.S.
Tropical Smoothie Café is looking to add qualified franchisees to its growing brand. Candidates should have business experience; $125,000 in liquid assets and a minimum net worth of $350,000; and an initial investment of between $195,550 and $427,130. The healthy fast food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $578,000 — the highest in the company’s 19-year history — with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of $734,000.
Tropical Smoothie Café’s aggressive franchise growth is backed by the entrepreneurs at the BIP Franchise Accelerator, a division of venture capital firm BIP Capital, which invested in the brand in 2010. BIP Capital has invested more than $250 million in emerging, high-growth brands across the franchising, software, and technology and consumer products industries. BIP Capital created the BIP Franchise Accelerator to leverage its leadership team’s deep franchise experience to help emerging brands accelerate their growth. In addition to Tropical Smoothie Café, the BIP Franchise Accelerator’s portfolio includes Tin Drum Asian Kitchen, which has grown to 13 locations in Georgia and Florida.
Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Café is a fast-casual restaurant concept inspiring healthy lifestyles across the country, with over 465 locations nationwide. With snack and meal options for any time of day, Tropical Smoothie Café serves smoothies, salads, tacos, wraps, sandwiches, and flatbreads. The rapidly growing franchise has received numerous accolades including being ranked on Entrepreneur‘s 2015 Franchise 500, 2015 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Franchise Times‘ Top 200+ and Nation’s Restaurant News‘ 2015 Top 200. Tropical Smoothie Café is seeking qualified franchisees to expand throughout the United States in markets such as Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Columbus and Charlotte, among others.