Interview with Planet Smoothie Franchise Senior VP of Franchise Development John Wuycheck
Planet Smoothie franchise company executive discusses the reasons the smoothie franchise is still expanding
As Planet Smoothie’s Senior Vice President of Franchise Development, John Wuycheck brings more than 15 years of franchising experience to the table. His history of helping grow small franchises into wildly popular brands has helped John develop a deep understanding of what makes a franchise tick, and what elements of a franchise attract potential investors.
For more than a year, John has been in charge of recruiting franchise owners to Planet Smoothie — a brand, he explains, that is devoted to guiding and supporting its franchisees. Here is what John has to say about being part of Planet Smoothie’s franchise development:
What is rewarding about being part of Planet Smoothie’s franchise development?
One of the things I love most about franchise development is helping people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams and keeping people out of opportunities that are not a good fit for them. I’ve gotten as much joy in doing that as I have in helping brands grow. That’s the great part of it, being able to put a thumbprint on the brand.
How does the Planet Smoothie franchise help people achieve their dreams?
One of the things that has made me very excited about Planet Smoothie is the passion and enthusiasm of its franchise community – they’re a community that is excited about owning their own business. They’re excited about the Planet Smoothie lifestyle; a fun, energetic place that promotes a healthy lifestyle — making Planet Smoothie the great brand that it is. It brings together franchisees who share that same enthusiasm, who share that same desire for a healthy lifestyle, but at the same time can control their own destiny. To me, that’s the fun part — finding those franchisees who share that passion, that enthusiasm, and in doing so help grow this great brand.
Who makes an ideal Planet Smoothie franchisee?
Our typical franchisee is a married couple or a partnership between two people. Many times it’s a first dive into the world of owning a business. We’re looking for people who have financial acumen, are business savvy, who have a passion and enthusiasm for healthy living, who share that same passion for owning their own business and also want to become a critical part of the communities they serve. We want people who want to get involved with local churches and schools and so forth — to become the face of Planet Smoothie in their community.
That’s what we’re looking for in Planet Smoothie franchisees: people who are business-minded as well as community-minded and want to become a vital part of the communities they serve.
The smoothie market is absolutely booming right now. What’s really driving that success?
It’s that desire for a healthy lifestyle — people looking for healthy alternatives, meal replacements or a fun way to celebrate a great day. This is where smoothies play a huge role. It’s easy to consume (There’s less worry of your white shirt being ruined when you’re enjoying a smoothie out of a covered cup!) and you can add supplements to “better” it for you. People are going from concept to concept, and they’re looking for the healthiest alternative. That’s where Planet Smoothie plays such a great role: with real fruit, all-natural ingredients and zero-calorie, plant-based sweeteners. These are things that so many of the other smoothie brands can’t compete with.
What is the value proposition of Planet Smoothie?
The smoothie market is a great success nationwide. It attracts people because they have a love for smoothies and for that healthy lifestyle. What brings them to Planet Smoothie is offering our guests the best-tasting smoothie on the planet. They also love the crisp, clean store design, how engaged Planet Smoothie is in both social and more traditional marketing and most importantly, when the prospective franchisees reach out to our owners for validation, they’re finding a passion and enthusiasm that makes them want to be a part of such a great community.
What incentives does Planet Smoothie offer multi-unit franchise owners?
We believe the best way to grow a brand is to grow through existing franchisees. A large percentage of our growth is coming from our existing franchise community, which is a wonderful indicator of the strength of our brand. Also, we have a lower subsequent-unit fee for existing franchisees. The initial fee is $25,000, the second store goes down to $20,000, and a third store goes down to $15,000. It’s an ongoing incentive to our existing franchisees to continue to grow with Planet Smoothie.
What are the key aspects of the training and support Planet Smoothie provides franchisees?
Ongoing franchise support is “mission critical” to the ongoing success of our franchisees. With this in mind, we assist our franchisees with everything from site selection, design, construction support, ongoing training to grand opening support. With real estate, we want to make sure franchisees have the benefit of what we’ve learned about what makes a great Planet Smoothie site. We work with them hand-in-hand through the real estate process to ensure we are selecting the best locations possible.
For training, we have one week of training here at the corporate office in Scottsdale, Arizona. This training focuses on customer service, inventory and food cost control, scheduling and general business acumen. Then we move to an actual Planet Smoothie store to complete the training process. In the stores, we teach the value of the Planet Smoothie customer experience, along with exactly how we make the best-tasting smoothie on the Planet. We also are an integral part of training their team members for a great opening.