Nation’s Restaurant News

By: Holly Petre

August 28, 2020

Charles Watson began as CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe in January 2019, and the world has changed wildly in his first year and a half. One thing remains the same: Tropical Smoothie Cafe is gunning to become a household name, with or without a pandemic.

“We make no bones about the fact that we are trying to be a household name,” said Watson.

The Atlanta-based healthful smoothie concept is certainly on the way, having increased comp sales by 25.5% in July – while other brands saw sales drop – and opening new units throughout the pandemic.

That is largely due to having a robust pipeline of franchisees, and being specific about locations. Don’t expect to see a unit on every corner just yet; that doesn’t fit in with Watson’s goals for the next 5 to 10 years.

Right now, he’s focused on what he calls “hospitology,” hospitality enabled by technology at all 875+ units.

The brand maintains a mix between hospitality and technology by focusing on contactless transactions, delivery, leaning into digital and mobile channels and point-of-sale improvements while also maintaining a warm environment, something Watson says is often lost in the automation of restaurants, especially during COVID.

Without safety and sanitation, “You have nothing,” according to Watson.

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