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Franchise 500 2023
2024 Franchise 500 Rank
#13 Ranked #11 last year
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Initial investment
$297K - $662K
Units as of 2023
1,312 Increase 50.6% over 3 years

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise

In today’s fast-paced world, people seek healthier alternatives to traditional fast food. As a result, there’s a growing demand for fast-casual options that offer nutritious and delicious meals without sacrificing convenience.

Enter Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a leading franchise in the health-focused fast-casual market. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a favorite among health-conscious consumers nationwide, with an extensive menu of real-fruit smoothies, wraps, salads, sandwiches and flatbreads. 

This comprehensive guide will delve into the franchise business opportunities available with Tropical Smoothie Cafe, providing insights into the company’s history, business model, franchise requirements and support system.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to capitalize on the booming health food trend, read on to discover everything you need about owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise business.

An overview of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, a fast-growing franchise in the fast-casual industry, has its roots in the late 1990s. Founded in 1997 in Destin, Florida, the company quickly gained popularity for its fresh and delicious smoothies made with real fruits and vegetables. 

Over the years, Tropical Smoothie Cafe expanded its menu to include various food options such as wraps, salads, sandwiches and flatbreads. 

This comprehensive menu caters to customers throughout the day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack times, making it a popular choice for those seeking healthy and convenient meal options.

As of 2022, Tropical Smoothie Cafe operates more than 1,142 locations across the United States, with a strong presence in states like Atlanta, Georgia, Florida, New York and Wisconsin. 

The company has experienced impressive growth, with a 45.7% increase in units over three years and it continues to pursue aggressive expansion plans.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe operates under a fast-casual business model, combining fast food's speed and convenience with a more inviting and comfortable atmosphere. 

This model has proven successful, as evidenced by the company’s rapid growth and high rankings in various industry lists. 

For example, Tropical Smoothie Cafe ranked #11 in the 2023 Franchise 500 list and held the #1 position in the Smoothies/Juices category in 2021 and 2022.

The company’s leadership team, led by CEO Charles Watson, has played a crucial role in its success. 

With a strong background in the franchise industry and a commitment to providing exceptional support to franchisees, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe leadership team has steered the company towards consistent growth and expansion.

Franchise opportunities with Tropical Smoothie Cafe are available to entrepreneurs who share the company’s vision and passion for offering consumers delicious and nutritious food options. 

By becoming a franchisee, you will benefit from a proven business model, a well-established brand and extensive support from the franchisor. 

In addition, the company offers exclusive territories and a variety of location types, including in-line, end-cap and drive-thru options, allowing franchisees to choose the best fit for their target markets and business goals.

Related: 5 Good Reasons to Work With a Franchise Broker

What should you expect from a Tropical Smoothie franchise opportunity? 

Becoming a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisee presents a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to capitalize on the growing trend of health-conscious consumers seeking fast-casual dining options. 

When you invest in a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise, you can expect a comprehensive support system from the franchisor to help you successfully launch and operate your business.

What kind of franchisor support does Tropical Smoothie offer?

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is committed to providing robust support to its franchisees, ensuring they have the tools and resources necessary for success. This support includes:

  • Initial training programs, both on-the-job and classroom-based, equip franchisees with the knowledge and skills to run their business effectively.
  • Ongoing support includes newsletters, meetings, conventions and a toll-free line for assistance and advice.
  • Marketing support through co-op advertising, national media campaigns, email marketing, SEO, loyalty program/app, ad templates, website development, regional advertising and social media management.
  • Real estate assistance, including site selection, lease negotiation and guidance on leasehold improvements.
  • Grand opening support to help franchisees generate buzz and attract customers to their new Tropical Smoothie Cafe location.

What terms should you expect on your franchise agreement?

The typical term for a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise agreement is 15 years, with options for renewal. Franchisees will be expected to pay an initial franchise fee of $30,000, ongoing royalty fees of 6% and ad royalty fees of up to 6% of gross sales.

What are Tropical Smoothie’s policies on exclusive territories and location types? 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers exclusive territories to franchisees, ensuring they have a protected market area with limited competition from other Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations. 

The company also provides various location options, including in-line, end-cap and drive-thru setups, allowing franchisees to choose the best format for their business based on target demographics, local market conditions and real estate availability.

By partnering with Tropical Smoothie Cafe, franchisees gain access to a proven business model, a recognizable brand and an experienced franchisor's support. 

This combination of factors can provide a solid foundation for success in the fast-casual industry, making a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise an attractive opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to enter the health-focused food sector.

What are the financial requirements and fees associated with opening a Tropical Smoothie franchise? 

Investing in a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise requires meeting specific financial requirements and paying various fees. 

Here is a breakdown of the costs and financial requirements associated with owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise:

Initial franchise fee

The initial franchise fee for a Tropical Smoothie Cafe location is $30,000. This fee grants franchisees the right to use the Tropical Smoothie Cafe name, logo, branding and access to the company’s business systems and support.

Initial investment

The initial investment required to open a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise ranges from $277,000 to $584,000. This investment includes leasehold improvements, equipment, inventory, signage and the initial franchise fee. The specific amount required will depend on location type and market conditions.

Net worth requirement and cash requirement 

Prospective franchisees must have a minimum net worth of $350,000 and a minimum of $125,000 in liquid capital. These financial requirements help ensure that franchisees have the necessary working capital to support their business during the initial stages of operation.

Veteran incentives

Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers incentives to veterans interested in opening a franchise. Qualified veterans can receive a 50% discount on the first-store franchise fee and a $5,000 discount on the franchise fee for additional stores.

Royalty fee and ad royalty fee

Franchisees must pay an ongoing royalty fee of 6% of gross sales. An ad royalty fee of up to 6% of gross sales is charged to support national and regional marketing efforts, including advertising campaigns and digital marketing initiatives.

Term of agreement

The standard term for a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise agreement is 15 years, with options for renewal available upon meeting certain conditions and requirements.

Financing options

Tropical Smoothie Cafe has established relationships with third-party financing sources, which can provide financing assistance to qualified franchisees. This financing can cover various expenses, including startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable and payroll.

By understanding the financial requirements and fees associated with owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise, potential franchisees can decide whether this investment aligns with their financial goals and resources.

What kind of training and support does Tropical Smoothie offer franchisees? 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is dedicated to the success of its franchisees and offers comprehensive training and support programs to ensure they are well-prepared to run their businesses effectively. 

Here’s an overview of the training and support provided to Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisees:

Initial training programs

Franchisees receive thorough initial training, including on-the-job and classroom training. 

The on-the-job training includes 170-210 hours of hands-on experience, during which franchisees learn about day-to-day operations, food preparation, customer service and management. 

The classroom training typically lasts 25 hours and covers business management, marketing and financial planning.

Ongoing support

Tropical Smoothie Cafe understands that franchise owners may need assistance and guidance throughout their franchise development. To this end, the company offers ongoing support in various forms, including:

  • Newsletter: Regular updates and news about the company, industry trends and best practices.
  • Meetings and Conventions: Opportunities for franchisees to network, share experiences and learn from company experts and fellow franchisees.
  • Toll-Free Line: A dedicated line for franchisees to ask questions and receive guidance on any issues.
  • Grand Opening Support: Assistance in planning and executing a successful grand opening to generate buzz and attract customers.
  • Online Support: Access an online portal with resources, tools and information for running a successful franchise.
  • Security and Safety Procedures: Guidance on maintaining a safe and secure environment for employees and customers.
  • Lease Negotiation and Field Operations Support: Expert advice on negotiating lease agreements and managing the business's day-to-day operations.
  • Site Selection: Assistance in identifying and evaluating potential locations for the franchise based on market research and demographic data.

Related: This Family of Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchisees Is Using Their Business to Build Community 

Marketing support

A strong marketing strategy is essential for the success of any business. Tropical Smoothie Cafe provides franchisees with marketing support in various forms, such as:

  • Co-op Advertising: Collaborative advertising efforts with other franchisees in the same region.
  • Ad Templates: Professionally designed advertising materials that can be customized for individual locations.
  • National Media and Regional Advertising: Participation in national media campaigns and regional advertising efforts to promote brand awareness and drive customer traffic.
  • Social Media Management, SEO and Website Development: Support optimizing the franchise’s online presence, including social media profiles, website and search engine ranking.
  • Email Marketing: Assistance with developing and executing effective email marketing campaigns to engage customers and promote repeat business.
  • Loyalty Program/App: Access to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe loyalty program and app, which incentivizes customer loyalty and fosters long-term relationships.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers extensive training and support to ensure that its franchisees are well-equipped to manage and grow their businesses. 

This commitment to franchisee success is one of the many reasons Tropical Smoothie Cafe remains a popular choice for entrepreneurs looking to enter the fast-casual, health-focused food industry.

Related: Franchise Fees: The Money Question That Can Make or Break Your Franchise

Seize the opportunity with Tropical Smoothie Cafe

There’s never been a better time to invest in a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise. 

With its proven business model, comprehensive training and support and strong brand recognition, Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers a solid foundation for entrepreneurial success in the fast-casual, health-focused food industry.

Check out Entrepreneur’s other articles for more information about Tropical Smoothie Cafe and other franchise opportunities.

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Company Overview

About Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Industry Food
Related Categories Smoothies/Juices, Fruit, Beverages
Founded 1997
Leadership Charles Watson, CEO
Corporate Address 1117 Perimeter Center W., #W200
Atlanta, GA 30338
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest

Business Overview

Franchising Since 1997 (27 years)
# of employees at HQ 121
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchises in the following US states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming

# of Units 1,312 (as of 2023)

Information for Franchisees

Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise.

Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees

Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.

Initial Franchise Fee Information Circle
Initial Investment Information Circle
$296,500 - $661,500
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
Cash Requirement Information Circle
Veteran Incentives Information Circle
50% off first-store franchise fee; $5,000 off franchise fee for additional stores
Royalty Fee Information Circle
Ad Royalty Fee Information Circle
Term of Agreement Information Circle
15 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
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Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing Tropical Smoothie Cafe has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll

Training & Support Offered

Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.

On-The-Job Training 170-210 hours
Classroom Training 25 hours
Ongoing Support
Meetings & Conventions
Toll-Free Line
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Lease Negotiation
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
National Media
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed? No
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit? Information Circle
Can this franchise be run part time? Information Circle
# of employees required to run 15-20
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
Take our quick quiz to find your ideal franchise

Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where Tropical Smoothie Cafe landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

Curious to know where Tropical Smoothie Cafe ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.

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Updated: December 12th, 2022