QSR
By: Danny Klein
April 2020

When COVID-19 struck the restaurant landscape in mid-March, Tropical Smoothie turned to charity first and hit pause on any projects that created additional costs in order to support the Tropical Smoothie Cafe community. Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, took some time to chat with QSR about Tropical Smoothie’s response to COVID and the strategy so far.

Pledging 100,000+ smoothies to healthcare workers and first responders, and now, the Franchise family has surpassed that goal by hundreds of thousands of smoothies (and a side of sunshine) all across the nation.

Pivoting operations to provide the best possible ordering experience for guests so they can still get their Tropical escape during these challenging times.

“Because of our amazing guests, our franchisees and the communities they serve, including those on the front lines of this pandemic, will get through this.”

Working hard to support the Franchise family, by decreasing royalties by 50 percent (from 6 to 3 percent), deploying hyper-local marketing strategies to drive business within a 1–2-mile radius of cafes, and began paying for support mechanisms for each franchise location, including a technology help desk, voice of the consumer, and back-office systems.

“Franchisees also have a direct line to me at all times. They have my email and cell number and I am in contact with many on a daily basis. They are also able to seek support from their field operations and marketing representatives on respective topics at any time as well.”

Lastly, Watson touches on how different the restaurant industry might look on the other side, as well as the road to getting to the other side.

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