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Published on: May 15, 2024

Source: Share Our Strength

About this Episode

Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café, talks about how the restaurant industry is uniquely positioned to make a difference on child hunger. “The American consumer is demanding and one of the things that they’re demanding – which is good – is purpose,” says Watson. “[They’ll] give you their money… but [they] also want to see that you’re giving back and that you’re doing something positive.” He proposed a “CEO Pledge to End Hunger” which aims to raise funds to support summer food programs, potentially preventing millions of children from going hungry. “We need sunshine, we need happiness, we need taking care of one another,” he concludes.

Charles Watson

Chief Executive Officer

Charles Watson is the Chief Executive Officer at Tropical Smoothie Café (TSC) and focuses on the sustainable growth of the franchise system and executing on TSC’s mission to Inspire Better. Prior to ascending to the CEO role in 2018, Charles was the Chief Development Officer for Tropical Smoothie Café. Charles was responsible for all aspects of Franchise Development, Real Estate, Design & Construction, and Franchise Administration. Under his leadership, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe system grew from 265 open units to 725 open units, TSC currently has over 1350 units in 44 states. A veteran franchise professional, Charles has worked for several hospitality-related companies including Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), and US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS) Charles serves on the board of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and the Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) program. Charles is a graduate of The Hotel School at Cornell University (BS) and also holds a Masters of Business administration (MBA) from The Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Tropical Smoothie began as a smoothie shop in 1993 along the panhandle of Florida. Tropical Smoothie Franchise Development Corporation was founded in 1997 in Destin, Florida, and the first franchised store opened in 1998 in Tallahassee, Florida. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1999, they introduced a line of food items including sandwiches and wraps. As more locations opened, the individual Cafes redesigned their store decor to offer a beach house theme with bright white walls, an open kitchen concept, vibrant colors, and tropical artwork

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