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Planet Smoothie Franchise Review: Q&A with Josh Rosado

Planet Smoothie franchise owner Josh Rosado says the brand has helped him and his wife achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

Josh Rosado owns two Planet Smoothie stores in the Orlando area.

Josh Rosado owns two Planet Smoothie stores in the Orlando area.

You could say the entrepreneurial spirit is in Josh Rosado’s blood. One uncle is a locksmith, another develops software for the state of Florida and his mother owned multiple businesses, from a photo studio to a bridal shop.

Even as a youngster, he was selling comic books and baseball cards at flea markets. “I grew up around that mentality,” Josh says. “I always knew that one day I would have my own business.”

A nightmarish commute sped the decision. He was in his car three hours a day to get to work and back. He and his wife were newly married, had purchased a new house and were itching for something different.

Now, the couple has two Planet Smoothie franchises outside of Orlando, Florida. His wife, Alexandra Pena-Rosado, also runs a pet boarding facility.

Here is Josh’s story.

What did you do before owning a Planet Smoothie?
I graduated with a degree in management, and my wife has a degree in hospitality. We always knew that we wanted to own a business at some point. I had worked for the electric company for 10 years. In my last position, I was conducting home energy surveys to help customers learn how to reduce their electric bills.

We had also moved to the Orlando area from Miami. We were going to buy a little townhouse and discovered that here we could own a bigger home on an even bigger lot. It was a no-brainer. That move and a grueling drive pushed us to check out franchise businesses.

What drew you to the Planet Smoothie franchise?
We’ve always been health-conscious. We used to make smoothies and protein shakes at home. Plus, we’ve always been active. So, when we thought about what kind of business we wanted to own, we thought the smoothie business would be fun.

Once we decided on smoothies, we looked at different franchise offerings. We also wanted something that would be easy to run. Planet Smoothie was the best of all.

We also talked to employees at different stores and sat down and watched customer traffic. I heard from fellow franchisees, too.

How do you get the word out about your stores? How do you market your Planet Smoothie franchises?
We make a point to get out into the community and remind people we’re here. We get involved with a lot of school activities, and it’s also important to engage with local businesses.

Community outreach takes a lot of work because you don’t always get to the right person every time. I spend about five hours a week looking for opportunities like community events.

We recently participated in a swim meet that was from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It was an excellent opportunity to sell smoothies. When people are staying in one place for a long time, there’s a good chance to sell. Local 5K runs are also a good time to give out samples.

I feel the best way to market the product is to give samples. When people try them, they get excited. They ask, “Where are you guys located, again?” Then we’ve got them.

We will also make smoothies in free 12-ounce sample sizes and take them to banks and retail shops nearby. We go to them and that has helped a lot, too.

Sounds like you have the marketing portion of the business sewn up. How is it working with corporate?
In 2011, Tasti D-Lite acquired Planet Smoothie. The new leadership team consists of franchise executives who have successfully launched more than 2,000 franchise stores for a variety of brands. Ever since, working with corporate has been amazing. I really feel this franchise could grow a lot with Tasti D-lite.

I like that they are involved. They communicate regularly through newsletters, and they show up to co-op meetings. We know who they are, they know who we are.

Planet Smoothie offers nutritional supplements and other options for customers to add to their smoothies.

Do health trends affect your business? And does Planet Smoothie keep up with the trends?
It absolutely does. People come in and the first thing they look at is the nutritional chart. Since Tasti D-lite has been in charge they have paid a lot of attention to that detail. There are new types of sweeteners, veggie options and ways to reduce the sugar content in smoothies.

Corporate does a lot of research. They are on top of what’s going on, and they also listen to the owners. They have a Franchise Advisory Board, and that board reaches out to different owners and ideas get passed along.

I think incorporating vegetables has been one of the most important additions to the smoothie menu. People want their veggies and juices. We are giving them more of that.

The good news is that we have something for every taste, and it’s healthier than other options.

You make owning a Planet Smoothie franchise sound easy. What’s it really like?
It’s a lot of hard work. But you get what you put into it. If it takes me being at the store all day, then that’s what I’m doing.

I bought my store in 2006-2007, and between 2008 and 2010, it got pretty ugly. The economy tanked. But Planet Smoothie hung in there. I took over hours working in the store. There were weeks when I was in here all day, every day. There are some good times, and there are bad times. Still, it’s been a great experience and it can be very rewarding. It just takes hard work.

And, as in any business, you absolutely have to look after the financials. If you forget about the little things, it can affect you.

It’s also important to secure the best lease. That can be scary because location is a big part of the business. Planet Smoothie does help with negotiating the leases, but they can only go so far. After many years, we now know what we should be paying and where to go for a loan. So far, lease negotiations have worked out.

What has owning a Planet Smoothie allowed you to do with your life?
It absolutely has met our expectations. We have learned what to do in our business and because of our success and what we have learned, we were able to start our own separate business that has also been successful. I think we have been, and will continue to be, very fortunate.

Would you recommend Planet Smoothie to someone thinking about starting a business?
My experience has been great. I would absolutely recommend the business. I know the product is great, and it is the type of business that is easy to manage and run.

We’re dealing with a smoothie. It is made in a blender. It’s not like cooking a steak or frying an egg where you have to have someone who is highly trained. It’s just an easy business.