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Why Right Now can be the Right Time to Start a Smoothie Business

Starting a smoothie business creates the perfect blend of health and comfort for today’s hyper-local lifestyle

It may seem counterintuitive, but the changing business landscape brought on by the pandemic can make right now a great time to start a smoothie business. Before you invest in a space and start passing out smoothies, though, there are a few things you’ll need to know.

Planet Smoothie is here with the questions you need to ask yourself and the answers that will guide you through everything you need to know before you start a smoothie business. From branding to grand opening, we’ll walk you through the process.

Before you jump in, take a minute to survey the smoothie business landscape. With a little knowledge and some preparation beforehand, you’ll be positioning yourself for a much smoother process.

Planet Smoothie franchise owner Sherell Oliver-Reilly

How big is the smoothie industry?

Smoothies are part of the juice and smoothie bar industry–a huge segment of the food-on-the-go market. Industry tracker IBISWorld pegs the juice and smoothie bar industry at $2.7 billion in 2019.(1) That’s a lot of smoothies and juicing!

Moreover, the industry is highly fragmented, with a large number of mom-and-pop businesses going head-to-head with just a few national brands like Planet Smoothie. As the industry grows, analysts expect fragmentation will begin to slow down as more smoothie bar owners consolidate into a few of the major brands.

Over the coming years, this consolidation will be a chief factor in the success and failure of new smoothie businesses. Whether you choose to do it alone or purchase a franchise like Planet Smoothie, positioning yourself from the start with a compelling brand built to compete can be a wise decision.

Starting a smoothie business positions you for growth in a massive, $200 billion market

When COVID-19 hit, the virus changed the fabric of society, affecting everything from how Americans go to work to what they’re eating and where. Consequently, fast food and QSR restaurants saw explosive growth, while dine-in restaurants and buffets suffered.

Smoothie businesses operate within this space. When you consider the entire fast food industry in the U.S. topped $200 billion last year, that means those small juice and fruit bars are almost 3% of the total! (2) More importantly, smoothie businesses operate in a segment of the food service industry that’s positioned for explosive growth, as business analytics firm Mintel points out.

“Millennials are the healthiest diners, but right behind them, Gen Z is the most indulgent generation, demonstrating the need for a balanced menu,” Mintel reports. (3) “Convenience and kid-friendliness are the deciding factors of where to eat – hallmarks of the fast food segment, which has the lowest consumer perception of being healthy.”

So how does starting a smoothie business position you to take advantage of this trend? Smoothies are a healthful and indulgent source of energy for people who are increasingly on the go.

Smoothie products are popular with adults and kids alike

Smoothies are a popular food choice for adults on the go. They grab them after that intense workout or during a busy workday. For kids, they’re a delicious, sweet, fruity and indulgent treat.

The cross-generational appeal means to start a smoothie business means you gain access to a broad customer base with virtually unlimited potential for growth. This fact was recognized as early as 2018, when business news service Radiant Insights identified smoothies as one of the breakout “grab and go” food trends. (4)

Since 2015, smoothie businesses have grown 1.3%–well outpacing other segments of the rapid service food market.(5) However, that’s only part of the story, as the industry is now uniquely poised for explosive growth.

Starting a smoothie business during the pandemic can be a wise move

Outside of selling PPE or medical services, it may seem like there aren’t a lot of businesses that are ideal to open during a global pandemic. However, that’s not the case with starting a smoothie business.

In fact, Business Wire singles out the juice and smoothie bar industry for explosive growth specifically because of the global health crisis.(6) According to a recent Business Wire report, smoothie businesses will enjoy a 9% growth over the next four years! This growth is being driven because the smoothie bar business model is uniquely designed to take advantage of shifting food trends.

Consider the shape of a smoothie bar business: customers pop in, place their order, grab their smoothie and jet out. Or they pull up to a drive-through speaker, order their smoothie, and pay at the window.

Smoothies are the ultimate low-contact, rapid service nutrition for health-conscious consumers who are wary of too much face time while ordering or eating food. After all, most smoothie bars have a little more than just a table or two and a handful of chairs. Smoothies are definitely an on-the-go food.

Planet Smoothie Franchise smoothies

Start a smoothie business with a diverse menu of cravable products to keep customers coming back

Smoothies are delicious, and they’re healthy. But most importantly, the nearly endless combination of flavors and nutritional support make them fun.

That’s why customers come back time and again to their favorite smoothie bar. They can have an indulgent vanilla bean and blueberry smoothie on Monday. Then on Tuesday, they can enjoy a healthy Banana Protein smoothie.

In a smoothie bar like Planet Smoothie, customers have the chance to build their own smoothie, with hundreds of thousands of potential flavor and nutritional combinations. That drives growth and customer loyalty.

“Given that people are now more into a healthier lifestyle and plant-based eating, now is an opportune time for the juices and smoothies market,” notes FoodTruck Empire. (7) In other words, starting a smoothie business means you’re selling a healthy product popular with consumers and infinite combinations of flavors.

Starting a smoothie business is more affordable than other fast food segments

The cost of starting a fast food restaurant can be prohibitive to entrepreneurs of almost any financial background. Take for example McDonalds, with a starting price of about $1 million! According to Business Insider, the cost of opening any of the top 12 QSR restaurants ranges from $100,000 to more than $2 million.(8)

“Potential franchisees need a lot of cash available to help fund startup costs, which exceed $1 million for most major fast food chains in the U.S.,” Business INsider reports.

The investment required to start a smoothie business is much lower, starting at less than $200,000 for a Planet Smoothie franchise, for example. At the same time, smoothie businesses are much easier and more affordable to operate.

Smoothie businesses can be an easy and affordable businesses to operate

Unlike other businesses in the fast food segment, to start a smoothie business, you need a small retail footprint and fewer employees. This can save you tremendous investment capital, but it also means the businesses are easier to operate.

With a smaller footprint and limited menu, you can also operate your new smoothie business with less payroll overhead than a big, full-menu QSR. Many smoothie bars operate with as few as 2 employees per shift.

This small footprint and low employee overhead combines to make starting a smoothie business a great option for first-time entrepreneurs or individuals looking to grow a family business. Smoothie businesses can also make great additions to business portfolios.

Ready to start a smoothie business with Planet Smoothie?

If you’re ready to get in on the smoothie revolution, getting started with a Planet Smoothie franchise is easy and fast. Our franchise sales team is ready to answer any questions you may have. Or, for a deep dive into the Planet Smoothie business model, download our free, Franchise Information Report.