Tasti D-Lite, the lower-calorie frozen dessert chain catering to health-conscious consumers has announced the acquisition of Planet Smoothie, LLC, a franchise system with more than 100 units in operation, mainly in Georgia and Florida. Planet Smoothie is a national franchisor and consumer products business which sells smoothies and all-natural snacks to health-conscious consumers. The strategic acquisition, which closed on November 30, will allow both brands to broaden product offerings, improve retail sales and accelerate unit growth through co-branding initiatives and non-traditional development opportunities.
“This acquisition presents an opportunity to combine two iconic brands to create a winning combination for both the customer and the franchisee,” said Jim Amos, chief executive officer of Tasti D-Lite. “The consumer profiles of Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie are very similar, so combining the two complementary brands will provide both brands an opportunity to increase the scale of the combined store network as well as sales at the store level.”
Over the coming months, Tasti D-Lite products will be added to select Planet Smoothie stores and likewise, Planet Smoothie menu offerings will be made available to Tasti D-Lite locations. Tasti D-Lite’s core frozen dessert products will be made available to Planet Smoothie customers utilizing self-serve machines. “We are giving our consumers even more reason to visit our stores,” Amos said. “By adding a product line that enhances Planet Smoothie’s menu, we are adding a new component that broadens the offering to the consumer.”
This acquisition is Tasti D-Lite’s latest initiative focused on increasing growth through the pursuit of non-traditional development methods. Earlier this year, the first drive-thru Tasti D-Lite location opened in Columbia, Missouri, and the first on-campus store was opened at Duke University. In addition, Tasti D-Lite introduced its first self-serve model to the brand’s long-time full-serve model, and also introduced their first “store-within-a-store” location on Las Vegas Boulevard. Following this transaction, Tasti D-Lite plans to offer new franchisees the option to own and operate in a co-branded store concept, which fully integrates both brands into a unique customer experience.
“Combining these brands will add value for our franchisees, which in turn will allow us to accelerate the growth of our store network,” Amos said. “We are thrilled to have acquired such a compelling brand with great promise that complements our product offering.”
Since its inception in 1987, Tasti D-Lite’s popularity has grown largely by word of mouth and has resulted in a huge base of raving fans who line up day and night to get their favorite guilt-free treat, available in more than 100 flavors. In 2008 the company launched its first franchise program. Since then, the company has grown to 60 locations across three countries and has already secured commitments to open more than 500 locations around the world. Tasti D-Lite is now poised for growth throughout the U.S. and around the world with plans to build a global franchise network through a combination of single- and multi-unit franchises, non-traditional locations, area developers and international master franchises. Including this transaction Tasti D-Lite expects to end 2011 with 170 locations open and operating. Tasti D-Lite is majority-owned by Snow Phipps Group, LLC, a New York based private equity firm with $1.5 billion of assets under management.