Tropical Smoothie Cafe Recaps Accomplishments

Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor, Restaurants
wolfe
Tropical Smoothie Cafe  is among the brands introducing new prototypes that  cater to sustained demand for digital ordering and drive-thru convenience.

For Tropical Smoothie Cafe, 2022 was another year of impressive growth. With 158 cafe openings and 258 executed franchise agreements in 2022, the brand was able to achieve its 11th consecutive year of positive same-store-sales growth This strategic expansion has reinforced its industry-leading position and set the stage for 2023 and beyond.

"The leadership and commitment from our franchisees and support team made 2022 another successful year for Tropical Smoothie Cafe. From a 19% increase in openings to triple-digit franchise agreements, continued digital innovation and new charitable partnerships, we've been able to honor our brand-wide commitment to Inspire Better®," said Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC. "We ended the year on a high note and are confident that our momentum will continue into 2023 and strengthen our stance as an industry leader."

 

Restaurant Prototype Innovation

Tropical Smoothie Cafe opened its first airport location in March at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. The non-traditional location features an efficient design equipped to handle the increased foot traffic from guests on the go.

Strengthening non-traditional growth throughout the year, new locations also opened on five military bases in 2022, increasing the brand's footprint with 13 active military base locations now open.

Likewise, the brand opened its first-ever double drive-thru location in October, also in Oklahoma City. Owned and operated by existing franchisee Rohit Patel, the new model includes two drive-thru lanes, one standard and the other designated for digital ordering pickup, including orders placed via the new Tropical Smoothie Cafe mobile app, on the brand's website, through third-party delivery services and for curbside delivery.

Flexible Store Formats

Tropical Smoothie Cafe  is among the brands introducing new prototypes that cater to sustained demand for digital ordering and drive-thru convenience. Earlier this week, Krystal opened a prototype designed with off prem in mindIn Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jack in the Box Inc. introduced its 1,350-square--foot, off-premise-only restaurant prototype. Last month, Panera Bread opened its New York Panera To Go,, solely offering Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders.  

"Opening a new prototype for the brand is always exciting," said Cheryl Fletcher, Chief Development Officer of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. "Our brand stays ahead of the curve with the latest wants and needs of both our guests and operators, and right now that is strongly linked to convenience. We want to be where our guests are, and our new formats help us achieve that."

Digital Guest Experience

To further increase engagement with the brand's most loyal and in-the-know guests across digital channels, Tropical Smoothie Cafe expanded its loyalty program membership by 69% in 2022. Its redesigned app drove awareness of the program, with offers like T-Mobile Tuesdays, National Flip Flop Day, National Smoothie Day and Tropic Fan Fest increasing membership across markets.

Emphasizing continued innovation and dedication towards guest retention and repeat orders, Tropical Smoothie Cafe introduced an improved Tropic Rewards program with a totally new structure to benefit guests. Guests using the app also had special access to digital-only menu items, such as the Valentine's Day Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie, and the holiday-themed Gingerbread Smoothie.

Franchise Growth

Franchisees opened 158 locations, officially marking the highest number of new cafe openings for the brand in a single year. Existing franchisees continue to be a driving force behind the brand's growth, accounting for more than 75% of the 2022 openings.

The brand is now preparing to open its 1,200th location this month.

No Kid Hungry Partnership

This year also marked the brand's first year partnering with No Kid Hungry, a nationwide organization working to end childhood hunger by giving all kids access to three healthy meals a day.

In a special promotional campaign, guests at participating Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations could purchase a Sunshine Smoothie, with $1* from their purchase going to No Kid Hungry. Guests also had the option to round up their donation through the app, a first for the brand. The initiatives ran from August 31 to October 4, resulting in more than $730,000 raised.

"Our recent partnership with No Kid Hungry reflects our commitment and mission to Inspire Better, a value we carry with us in each new initiative introduced," said Deborah von Kutzleben, Chief Marketing Officer of Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC. "Our franchisees and guests are always eager to help those in need, and our fundraising this last year will make a meaningful impact for children across the country."

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