What makes Planet Smoothie a Strong Orlando Business Opportunity?
Q&A with Planet Smoothie area developer Jason Mann, who owns three stores and supports franchisees in Central Florida
When Jason Mann bought his first Planet Smoothie franchise in Orlando in 1999, there were just three stores in the area. Now there are 28. As area developer, Jason has guided most of that growth — and it’s not finished. Jason expects to help franchise partners open seven to eight more stores in the next three years, and 15 more over the next 10 years.
We recently interviewed him about what makes Planet Smoothie a strong business opportunity in Orlando and surrounding areas. Here’s what he said:
What’s it like to own a Planet Smoothie?
When I was looking for a business to start in Florida, Planet Smoothie was an easy choice. Demand for smoothies was growing, and it was a very simple business concept to operate, especially for someone who didn’t have restaurant experience. I was a sales manager before starting my first location. I liked that you didn’t need a large inventory, startup costs were very reasonable and you didn’t need to have a large number of employees to get started.
As an owner, you need to make yourself a big part of the community. We’re always looking to build relationships with community organizations. Of course, these days, Planet Smoothie is very well known in Florida, but you need to be someone who enjoys marketing and meeting people in gyms and schools and letting them know what you offer. We have name recognition, but the best franchisees become the mayor of the village around their store.
Is it hard to find employees?
One of the nice things about the simplicity of the concept is the fact that it’s very easy to train people. This is a great job for enthusiastic young adults. Planet Smoothie provides recipes that are excellent and easy to follow. Our training tools help team members learn to deliver a great guest experience, which sets them up for successful careers.
What is the growth potential?
Well, I have three stores now! We have 28 in Orlando, and our newest franchisee, Heidi, is off to a great start. That’s one reason I’m confident about our expansion plans. Our brand just keeps getting stronger.
As far as the industry, it’s huge. People know they need to eat better, and they are looking for ways to do it. Our smoothies can provide a full meal replacement or a healthy snack, depending on what people are looking for. And the range of items we offer allows us to serve all kinds of customers — from people who are looking for low-calorie items to people who want something a little more decadent. Even the decadent items are nutritionally better than what you’ll find elsewhere, because Planet Smoothie puts so much effort into creating great-tasting recipes that have as few calories and as little sugar as possible.
How hard is it to run multiple locations?
We have training and tools to help you, and I help all franchisees in Central Florida, which I wouldn’t be able to do on top of my own three stores if the systems weren’t excellent. What’s nice is that Planet Smoothie has mapped out both business models — what does it take to be a successful single-store owner, and what does it take to run multiple stores. It’s really all about the type of business you want to own and how much you want to grow.
How do you support franchisees?
As an area developer, I am a coach and an information broker, moving data back and forth among franchisees as they need support. I am a standards manager, which means I make sure standards are consistent throughout the territory. This helps continue to make the brand strong and ensure that resale value is strong. I also help identify future locations and help with training.
I assist however I can. Sometimes I’m a glorified maintenance man. I could be counseling a franchisee or general manager, or changing out a light bulb.
We also have support from the headquarters team in Nashville, and that team has decades of experience supporting franchisees.
Where do you think a Planet Smoothie should go?
There are so many great places that fit our demographic profile and still don’t have a Planet Smoothie. Downtown Orlando could support another Planet Smoothie. The Florida Mall … Kissimmee … Celebration, UCF, Clermont, Ocala, Lakeland, Daytona, Smyrna, Ormond Beach … there are a lot of great areas that are wide open for the right franchise partner.
How do I get in touch?
You can use our website to send me a message. There’s a form you can fill out to get in touch (and you get a detailed franchise report when you fill it out), or you can call me at 407-310-5938.