Smoothie King is a chain of juice bars that focuses on selling smoothies that are high in nutrients. Smoothie King’s beverages are designed to assist customers in accomplishing their nutritional requirements and objectives, making them a viable alternative to fast food.
Smoothie King was one of the very first smoothie establishments in the United States, having initially opened its doors in 1973. By 1988, it had launched its first franchise. It currently has over a thousand sites throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
These establishments don’t simply produce and sell smoothies; in addition to them, they also produce and sell energy bars, nutritious snacks, sports drinks, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.
As a franchise owner, it is your job to persuade customers to adopt and keep up a healthy way of living and provide them with products and offerings that enable them to do this. With organic fruits, vegetables, and other products that are untouched by artificial preservatives, tastes, and colors, you’ll be working hard to make your franchise a community staple. But there’s a lot more than just this that goes into starting and operating a Smoothie King franchise. Here are the topics we’ll discuss in-depth in this article:
Smoothie King Franchise Cost
The initial investment required to launch a Smoothie King franchise may range from low to high, depending on the kind of site that is selected.
The initial franchise cost may range from $25,000 to $30,000 for a regular site. However, the charge for a non-traditional location is just $15,000. This cost is needed to be paid in full prior to the establishment of your franchise and must be paid ahead.
Smoothie King franchise startup costs are projected to vary from $320,301 to $585,465 for an endcap or in-line facility and from $723,501 to $1,184,865 for a free-standing store with a drive-thru.
Smoothie King Franchise Requirements
Smoothie King offers great franchise opportunities for individuals who want to own and operate a healthy beverage franchise. The franchise provides a proven business model, training, and support to its franchisees.
Before becoming a franchisee, however, it is important to understand the financial requirements and ongoing fees involved in running a Smoothie King franchise.
Franchisees must have a minimum net worth of $300,000 and minimum liquidity of $100,000, as well as a minimum credit score of 700.
In terms of ongoing fees, franchisees are required to pay a 6% operating fee of their gross sales, with a monthly minimum fee of $500.
The national marketing fee is currently 3% of gross sales, while the regional marketing fee, if established in a region where the unit is located, cannot exceed 2% of gross sales. Franchisees must also allocate a minimum of 2% of their gross sales toward local marketing efforts.
As such, opening a Smoothie King franchise requires a significant upfront investment, and the ongoing fees are not cheap. But, if the financials make sense and you feel you are in a market where a Smoothie King store can thrive, it is a great opportunity for individuals who want to run a successful and healthy beverage business.
As with any franchise, it is important to carefully consider the financial requirements and ongoing fees before becoming a Smoothie King franchisee. You will be bound by these fees and requirements once you agree to open the franchise.
You can see a full breakdown of all the expenses and where your funds will be allocated (i.e. to technology systems, equipment, signage, marketing, insurance, etc.) on Smoothie King’s franchise website. You can see the high and low-cost ranges for every store type they offer.
Franchise Fee: $25,000 to $30,000 ($15,000 for a non-traditional location)
- Endcap or In-Line Location: $320,301 to $585,465
- Free-Standing Drive-Thru Location: $723,501 to $1,184,865
Net Worth Requirement: $350,000
Liquidity Requirement: $150,000
Minimum Credit Score: 700
Royalty Fees: 6% of weekly gross sales
Marketing / Ad Fees: 3% of weekly gross sales + 2% of weekly gross sales must be spent on local store marketing.
Starting a Smoothie King franchise comes with several additional costs besides the initial investment. You can find these in the franchise agreement or Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).
Before you even open your doors, you will have to pay an Initial Franchise Fee of $25,000 to $30,000 for a traditional location or $15,000 for a non-traditional location. You will also need to pay three months of rent and deposits, which can range from $5,001 to $30,000.
Technology systems, including the required point-of-sale system, can cost anywhere from $9,100 to $12,215. A Grand Opening Marketing campaign is also required, with a minimum spend of $15,000.
Travel and training expenses, including lodging, transportation, and food, will cost you between $2,700 and $6,000.
The first year’s premium for insurance will range from $3,500 to $7,500. You will also need to pay for startup supplies and inventory, which can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $16,000.
Furniture, fixtures, and equipment, as well as millwork, graphics, and signage, can cost between $100,000 and $130,000. You will need to budget for architectural and engineering services, which will cost you between $3,500 and $14,500, and for signage, which can cost between $7,000 and $14,000.
Finally, you will need to budget for leasehold improvements, which can range from $120,000 to $240,000, as well as legal, accounting, and organizational costs, which can range from $500 to $4,000.
Drive-thru equipment will also be an additional cost, which can range from $0 to $33,750, and you will need to have sufficient additional funds for three months of operation.
History of Smoothie King
Smoothie King is an American franchise that was founded in 1973 in Louisiana by Steve and Cindy Kuhnau. The company began franchising in March of 1989 with a focus on health and nutrition as its core mission and offering as a company. In the 2000s, Wan Kim was impressed by the franchise and its mission and decided to open the brand’s first international franchise in Seoul, South Korea. In a short time, Wan was able to grow the franchise to more than 130 locations in South Korea.
In July 2012, with his newfound success as a franchisee, Kim purchased the company from the Kuhnaus. Since that time, Smoothie King has grown steadily. In 2021, Smoothie King announced a record average unit volume (AUV) of $609,753, with their top 25% performing stores recording AUV of over $907,000. They also reported total sales of $602 million in 2021, a 25% increase from the prior year.
Additionally, in 2021, Smoothie King opened an additional 100 stores. As of now, they have over 1,300 locations worldwide, with over 1,000 in the United States.
Today, Smoothie King is based mostly in the United States, although it also has, as noted, a large presence in South Korea, the Cayman Islands, and Trinidad & Tobago. The brand also used to have establishments in Singapore as well (Smoothie King left the Singaporean market in 2016). In 2018, the firm inaugurated the 1001st location of its retail outlets.
On Entrepreneur Magazine’s Annual Franchise 500 list, Smoothie King was ranked the #17 franchise and the second-highest smoothie franchise, behind only Tropical Smoothie Cafe (ranked #13). The brand holds a higher ranking than other popular smoothie franchises, including Jamba (ranked #292), Baya Bar (ranked #357), and Nekter Juice Bar (ranked #335).
Pros of Starting a Smoothie King Franchise
Potential franchisees have access to a number of benefits if they choose to start a Smoothie King business.
To begin, if you choose to become a franchisee, you will have access to an already established brand name and reputation in the industry. This will make it easier for you to bring in new consumers and build their confidence in your company.
Smoothie King has been expanding rapidly over the last few years and establishing a solid reputation and brand recognition in the United States. In opening a Smoothie King franchise, you can take advantage of this growing brand awareness, removing the need for you to start from scratch by building a brand-new brand and reputation.
Support & Direction
The second advantage is that the franchisor will provide you with support and direction in the form of training, marketing, and operational support, all of which may be of great assistance to you in launching and maintaining a successful firm.
One of the benefits of franchising is that the national franchise already has clear operational plans that have been proven to work. You won’t be operating your business in the dark or having to develop your own operational plan from scratch. Representatives from the national brand will be able to help you learn exactly what it takes to run your franchise efficiently and effectively.
Tried and True Business Model
Smoothie King offers a tried-and-true business model, which consists of a complete operating system, an established supply chain, and product offerings that have been tried, evaluated, and improved over the course of time.
Access to Brand Exclusive Products
You have access to special items, components, and proprietary mixes, which are not offered by independent smoothie businesses. These are not accessible to the general public. As a result, you don’t have to develop your own products. Instead, there is a national brand – with the capacity to research each product and ensure consumers are actually interested in the product – to lead the way in product innovation and development.
Smoothie King offers its franchisees continuous assistance and training to assist them in expanding their operations and remaining competitive in their respective markets. They also provide a flexible approach to shop design and layout, which enables franchisees to cater their stores to the specific needs of the communities in which they operate.
In general, launching a Smoothie King franchise might be an excellent option for company owners who are searching for a well-established brand, a tried-and-true business plan, and continuing assistance in order to achieve success in the smoothie and juice market.
Challenges of Starting a Smoothie King Franchise
Starting a Smoothie King franchise comes with certain limitations and drawbacks that should be considered before making the investment. Some of the cons of starting a Smoothie King franchise include the following:
High Initial Investment
The initial investment required to start a Smoothie King franchise can be quite substantial, ranging from $320,301 to $1,184,865, depending on the location type. This high upfront cost can be difficult for some individuals to come up with. This is a pretty expensive upfront investment compared to other smoothie franchises, so individuals interested in opening a Smoothie King franchise will have to be prepared for a substantial initial outlay.
Strict Franchise Requirements
Smoothie King has strict franchise requirements, including a minimum credit score of 700, a minimum net worth of $300,000, and a minimum liquidity of $100,000. This can make it difficult for some individuals to meet the criteria for opening a franchise.
As a franchisee, you are required to follow the policies, procedures, and systems established by Smoothie King. This can limit your ability to be creative and make changes to your business.
If you are looking to get into a business where you will have a lot of flexibility and leeway to operate the company as you see fit, then franchising likely isn’t for you. When you open a franchise, you are bound to operate your business the way the national franchisor wants you to, offering their products, following their promotions and marketing plans, and more.
Franchisees are required to pay a 6% operating fee based on their gross sales, a national marketing fee of 3% of their gross sales, and a local marketing fee of at least 2% of their gross sales. These fees are slightly higher than the industry average, which is something to consider.
The smoothie market is becoming increasingly competitive, and there are many established players in the industry. This can make it difficult for a new franchise to stand out and succeed. However, Smoothie King has a proven track record of success and has been expanding in recent years. So, this may be evidence of an advantage over the competition.
It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons before investing in a Smoothie King franchise to make an informed decision.
Financing Options to Start a Smoothie King Franchise
There are a number of different financing options that businesses can take advantage of when getting started. With all financing, it is important to carefully consider different options, loan types, loan terms, and other loan attributes. By weighing the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision, you can help ensure you get the right financing for you and your business.
Here are a few different popular financing options that many franchisees take advantage of:
Small Business Administration (SBA) loans can be a good option for financing a Smoothie King franchise, as they offer several benefits compared to other types of loans.
Advantages of SBA loans include lower down payments, longer repayment terms, and more favorable interest rates. They also often have more relaxed eligibility requirements than traditional bank loans, making it easier for entrepreneurs with less established credit histories to secure funding.
Additionally, the SBA provides resources and support to help franchisees with their businesses, including training, counseling, and disaster relief.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that SBA loans can have longer processing times and more complex application requirements than other types of loans. Additionally, franchisees will need to provide a comprehensive business plan and meet other criteria to be eligible for an SBA loan. This can slow down the amount of time until you receive your funding, making SBA loans ideal for purchases that are not particularly time-sensitive.
The most common type of SBA loan is the SBA 7(a) loan. SBA 7(a) loans offer business owners access to up to $5 million in funding (depending on what they qualify for) and have terms of up to 25 years.
Keep in mind that SBA loans can only be used by franchise brands that have been pre-approved by the SBA. This means that not all franchises are eligible to receive SBA loans – which may be something to consider when deciding on what franchise to open. The list of franchises that have been pre-approved by the SBA is listed on their online franchise directory. Smoothie King is currently an SBA-approved franchise, with SBA franchise code identifier S1591.
Term loans are a traditional and commonly used financing option for businesses. Term loans typically offer a lump sum of capital that can be used to cover a variety of expenses, such as startup costs, working capital, and equipment purchases. The loan is paid back over a fixed term, typically ranging from 1 to 5 years, with set monthly or quarterly payments that include both principal and interest.
One advantage of term loans is the stability they provide, with fixed interest rates and payments, making it easier to budget and forecast future expenses (term loans can also have variable interest rates under certain circumstances).
Term loans can also be a good option if you need a large sum of money upfront, as they can provide a substantial amount of capital to help you get your franchise up and running.
However, term loans can be more difficult to obtain, especially for a new franchise, as lenders will typically want to see a solid business plan, a good credit score, and a proven track record of success. Additionally, the loan terms and repayment schedule can be less flexible than other financing options, so it’s important to make sure you have a solid plan for repaying the loan on time and in full.
Term loans can be offered by both traditional brick-and-mortar banks and alternative lenders (like Biz2Credit!). There are pros and cons to both of these options.
Term loans offered by traditional lenders are very difficult to get. The process is typically long and drawn out and requires a great deal of documentation from borrowers that analyze their business plan, credit score, and more. However, because of this long and thorough process, traditional lenders are able to offer some of the best interest rates available.
Term loans offered by alternative lenders, on the other hand, are much easier to obtain. Application processes can usually be completed online quickly, and the funds can often be accessed in as little as 24 hours. However, because the process is less thorough, alternative lenders are not able to assess risk in the same way that traditional lenders are. As a result, the interest rates they offer tend to be higher. These are all pros and cons that you should consider when selecting financing.
Overall, term loans can be a good option for financing a Smoothie King franchise if you have a solid business plan, a good credit score, and the ability to make regular repayments over a set term.
Lines of Credit
A line of credit is a type of loan that provides borrowers with a flexible source of funds, which they can draw on as needed. Lines of credit remain open for long periods of time (often 10 years), and once you repay what you borrow (with interest fees, of course), you can borrow the funds again. Hence, lines of credit are always open. This type of loan can be useful for small business owners who may need to cover unexpected expenses or fund seasonal fluctuations in cash flow.
Lines of credit can be secured or unsecured, meaning they may be backed by collateral or not. Secured lines of credit often have lower interest rates and higher credit limits compared to unsecured lines of credit.
Some common uses for a line of credit include managing cash flow, financing inventory purchases, and covering unexpected expenses. Whether a line of credit is a good option for a specific small business owner depends on several factors, including their financial needs, credit history, and ability to secure collateral.
Equipment financing is a popular form of financing for franchise owners that have to purchase expensive commercial equipment to operate their location. With equipment financing, the equipment serves as the collateral on the loan. This allows lenders to have less stringent requirements and lower interest rates on the loans since they know they can use the equipment to salvage some of their funds if the borrower defaults.
With equipment financing, the lender usually retains ownership of the equipment until the loan is paid off, at which point ownership transfers to the franchisee. This type of financing can also help to conserve working capital and preserve credit lines.
Starting a Smoothie King franchise can be a rewarding business opportunity, but it is important to understand the costs involved before making a decision. The key to starting any franchise is to make sure you do your research and due diligence upfront. You want to make sure you know all the details and know exactly what you are getting into before you sign up for any commitments and obligations. We recommend having a qualified lawyer take a look at any franchise agreements you are considering signing in advance in order to make sure you understand all the terms and obligations.
Franchising has so many benefits to offer its owners, as previously detailed, and there are so many different options. Even if Smoothie King isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean the right franchise isn’t out there waiting for you. So, keep looking and searching for the brand, terms, products, and more that make the most sense for you and your community. With the right approach in mind and the proper work ethic, you could be well on your way to starting your own franchise in the near future.
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