Published on: January 12, 2024
Fast-Casual Brand Heightens Nationwide Growth, Charitable Giveback Initiatives and Product Innovation in 2023
Tropical Smoothie Cafe has finished the 2023 calendar year with strong opening numbers, new franchise agreements, positive same-store sales, inventive product offerings, and continued charitable giveback.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe continued to drive expansion efforts in 2023 with 176 openings nationwide, a 14%-unit growth rate over the prior year. More than 70% of these openings were with existing franchisees who have proven to be key ambassadors for the ever-growing brand. The brand also signed 258 franchise agreements last year, providing a robust pipeline of growth for the years ahead.
2023 also officially marked the 12th consecutive year of positive same-store sales. Digital sales increased throughout the year and accounted for 37% of the brand’s overall sales. “Tropical Smoothie Cafe drove fantastic growth in 2023, and I place so much of that achievement on our franchisees,” said Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC. “Our incredible cafe operators are precisely what allow us to continue opening new locations in more communities than ever before, because they know that the key to this business is delivering an outstanding experience for each guest who walks through our doors. From high-quality products to exceptional guest service, our franchisees are the ones who make our Inspire Better® mission a reality, and that sentiment only makes me more excited for what we’ll achieve in 2024.”
Charitable Partnerships with No Kid Hungry
Tropical Smoothie Cafe has partnered with No Kid Hungry since March 2022 to further its Inspire Better® mission and help provide children access to nutritious meals.
Since the inception of the partnership, participating Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations and guests nationwide have mobilized to raise more than $2.4 million for No Kid Hungry. These critical funds support No Kid Hungry’s efforts to strengthen and expand nutrition programs that provide kids with the meals they need to thrive, all year long. Among other fundraising efforts, $1 from every Sunshine Smoothie® purchase went directly to the organization. To date, this smoothie alone has accounted for more than $1M of the system’s total donation.
The funds raised by cafe operators and guests can help provide an estimated 24 million meals* to kids in need. These impressive donation efforts mark the most funds ever raised for a charitable partner by Tropical Smoothie Cafe.
*Your donations help support programs that feed kids; No Kid Hungry does not provide individual meals. Learn more at NoKidHungry.org/OneDollar.
Product Innovation & Guest Activation
In a continued effort to keep product innovation and the guest experience at the forefront of Tropical Smoothie Cafe operations, the brand launched its first-ever line of bowls in addition to three new breakfast items.
The initial launch highlights four new bowl offerings, including Acai, Chia Oatmeal Pudding, Green Dream Yogurt and Mixed Berry Greek Yogurt. The new additions to the core breakfast menu lineup feature the Spinach Feta & Pesto Wrap, Sausage Egg & Cheese ‘Dilla and the returning fan favorite Cali Breakfast Flatbread.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe also celebrated another successful National Flip Flop Day® last year, a holiday coined by the brand and designed to give guests a free smoothie when wearing flip-flops at their local cafe. Cafes gave away 400,000 Strawberry Margarita Mocktail Smoothies to loyal guests. “There are still a lot of people who’ve never tried Tropical Smoothie Cafe,” said Deborah von Kutzleben, Chief Marketing Officer for Tropical Smoothie Café, LLC. “New product offerings and fun, rewarding holidays like National Flip Flop Day® allow our brand to not only entice new guests to come try us out, but also give our loyal superfans something exciting and unique to look forward to.”
Industry Award Recognition
Tropical Smoothie Cafe received numerous industry awards throughout 2023, and in Q4 was honored with the #37 placement on FSR Magazine’s Most Beloved Brands. The award highlights the top 100 brands loved by consumers nationwide.
Likewise, the brand also ranked #8 on Entrepreneur’s Top Franchises for Veterans and #75 on Franchise Times’ Top 400 Award. Finally, Tropical Smoothie Cafe was honored with the #21 spot in the Franchise Times Fast & Serious award, a ranking that honors brands growing quickly and sustainably.
About Tropical Smoothie Cafe®
Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual restaurant brand built on a mission to Inspire Better®, a commitment that starts with our better-for-you food and smoothies and extends to inspiring better in the communities we serve. Born on a beach in 1997, today Tropical Smoothie Cafe has more than 1,350 locations in 44 states. For the fourth year in a row, the brand was ranked #1 in the Smoothie/Juice Category by Entrepreneur Franchisee 500. For 11 consecutive years the brand has received the Franchise Times Fast and Serious award, and for 2023 the brand received the TopScore FUND Award with a score of 920, the highest in the QSR segment by FRANdata, for the third consecutive year.