Leading Fast Casual Cafe Aims to Open 10 Restaurants in Baltimore, 25 across State, over the Next 3-5 Years
Tropical Smoothie Cafe, the leading fast casual cafe concept known for its better-for-you food and smoothies with a tropical twist, announced today it is aggressively targeting Baltimore, Md., for franchise growth. Over the next 3-5 years, the sandwich and smoothie franchise aims to open approximately 25 new locations throughout the state, including 10 in Baltimore. Tropical Smoothie Cafe currently has five restaurants open in Maryland in Columbia, Waldorf, Gambrills, Pikesville and Frederick.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe most recently opened the Frederick location at Market Square on Dec. 7. Additional cafes opened at Waugh Chapel in Grambrills and The Festival at Woodholme Shopping Center in Pikesville on Nov. 21 and Nov. 30, respectively. In January 2016, Tropical Smoothie Cafe will open another location on Elm Street in Bethesda Row (Bethesda, Md.). The brand is targeting additional communities for development next year, including Bowie, Ellicott City and Rockville, Md.
“Tropical Smoothie Cafe is incredibly well known in the Washington, D.C., metro area, where we have nearly three dozen locations. With so many people traveling between Washington and Baltimore every day, it makes sense for us to grow the brand in Baltimore,” said Kathy Benzing, director of franchise development and sales and area developer for Tropical Smoothie Cafe. “What really sets us apart and has been key to our success in markets like Northern Virginia is our food. We’re not afraid to be next door to other smoothie concepts because we don’t see them as true competitors. We’re a true fast casual brand much like Chipotle and Panera Bread.”
Woo Choi, a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisee who owns two locations in Columbia, Md., and Alexandria, Va., worked in information technology for over 20 years before deciding to become a franchise owner with Tropical Smoothie Cafe.
“I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur, so when the time came from me to make a decision I ventured out to Virginia with my brother-in-law to experience the true flavors of Tropical Smoothie Cafe,” said Choi. “Since joining the brand in 2008, I’ve had a great experience and have grown to operate two cafes. I love how we feel like a family and our support teams are always able to help guide us as we continue to grow.”
This year, the food and smoothie franchise plans to exceed 475 stores nationwide. The brand currently has franchise opportunities across the U.S. in markets such as Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco, Calif., among others. By 2018, Tropical Smoothie Cafe plans to have 800 stores open across the U.S.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe is looking to add qualified franchisees to its growing brand. Candidates should have business experience; $100,000 in liquid assets and a minimum net worth of $300,000; and an initial investment of between $165,940 and $414,685. The healthy fast food franchise currently boasts an average unit volume (AUV) of more than $578,000 — the highest in the company’s 18-year history — with the top 50 percent reporting an AUV of $734,000.
Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant concept inspiring healthy lifestyles across the country, with over 445 locations nationwide. With snack and meal options for any time of day, Tropical Smoothie Cafe 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 and Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2015 Top 200. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is seeking qualified franchisees to expand throughout the United States in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Columbus, Ohio, among others.