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Smoothie King

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Smoothie King Franchises, Inc.
Smoothie King
Company typePrivate
Founded1973; 51 years ago (1973) in
Kenner, Louisiana, US
FoundersSteve and Cindy Kuhnau
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$416 million (FY 2018)

Smoothie King Franchises Inc. (doing business as Smoothie King)[1] is an American privately held company that operates a chain of retail stores that specialize in selling smoothies. Founded in 1973, the company was bought by a South Korean franchisee in 2012. In the late 2010s, the company was focusing on whole and unmodified ingredients.


On January 1, 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest awarded the Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie their Xtreme Eating "dis-honor" for its healthlessness; consisting of "peanut butter, banana, sugar, and grape juice", a 40-US-fluid-ounce (1,200 ml) cup had 1,460 calories (6,100 kJ) and 214 grams (7.5 oz) of sugar.[2] As of March 2019, the company was focusing on its "Clean Blends initiative" whereby stores' menus featured more smoothies with whole fruits and vegetables, and lacking food coloring, artificial flavor, preservatives, and added sugar.[3]

Corporate history[edit]

Smoothie King was founded in 1973 in Kenner, Louisiana[3] by Steve and Cindy Kuhnau.[4] As of November 2012, Smoothie King was still a privately held company.[5]

In 2012, Wan Kim—a South Korean Smoothie King franchisee since 2002—bought the company from the Kuhnaus. Kim then acquired US$58 million (equivalent to about $77M in 2023) from Standard Charter Private Equity and National Pension Fund to grow the company. To succeed in this growth, Kim had several plans for Smoothie King. Kim planned to open 800 new franchises and the company's first 200 corporately-owned stores. He also planned to experiment with selling salads and wraps at these latter locations (in South Korea, they made over 20% of Kim's revenue).[4]

In 2009, Smoothie King's per-store revenue was about $285,000, and had reached $362,000 by 2012.[4] Corporate-wide, revenues were $372.5 million in fiscal year 2017, and $415.7 million in fiscal year 2018.[3]

In early 2014, Smoothie King contracted with the New Orleans Pelicans to rename the New Orleans Arena, Smoothie King Center. The contract was for 2014–2024, and Smoothie King has the option to extend the contract through 2034. The National Basketball Association required that all Smoothie King products be tested before the deal was completed, to ensure that they didn't contain any league-banned substances; testing was an eight-month process.[6]


CEO since 2012,[4] Wan Kim had Tom O'Keefe as Smoothie King's corporate president in 2014,[6] and in February 2019 he replaced Jennifer Herskind with Rebecca Miller (previously of On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina) as chief marketing officer.[3] Kim further shuffled his corporate positions in September 2019: chief operating officer Dan Harmon added president to his plate (replacing O'Keefe), chief development officer Kevin King became the chief business development officer, and Miller was promoted to head of field marketing.[7]


Recently opened Smoothie King in Thomasville, Georgia (2016)

By 2012, Smoothie King was headquartered in Covington, Louisiana. That year, however, the company took advantage of US$2.4 million (equivalent to about $3M in 2023) of incentives to move to Metairie, Louisiana, approximately 40 miles (64 km) to the south.[5] As of August 2021, Smoothie King was based in Coppell, Texas.[1]

Predominantly in the United States, Smoothie King also has locations in South Korea, the Cayman Islands,[5] Trinidad and Tobago,[8] and previously had shops in Singapore (which opened in December 2012, but permanently closed in 2016).[9] CEO Wan Kim has explicitly detailed the company's avoidance of cold-weather locations due to other smoothie companies' failures there.[4] In 2018, the company opened its 1001st store.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Smoothie King Franchises, Inc". Dun & Bradstreet. Archived from the original on August 28, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  2. ^ "Xtreme Eating 2013 Extremism Running Amok at America's Restaurant Chains". Center for Science in the Public Interest. January 1, 2013. Archived from the original on September 26, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019. Federal Rules for Calories on Menus Long Overdue, Says CSPI
  3. ^ a b c d e Ruggless, Ron (March 6, 2019). "Smoothie King names new marketing chief". Nation's Restaurant News. ISSN 0028-0518. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019. Rebecca Miller joins brand from On The Border
  4. ^ a b c d e Tice, Carol (November 5, 2012). "Flush With Cash, a Chain's New CEO Plots Smoothie Domination". Forbes. ISSN 0015-6914. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Broach, Drew (November 21, 2012). "Smoothie King takes $2.4 million state sweetener to move to Metairie". The Times-Picayune. ISSN 1055-3053. Archived from the original on October 22, 2019. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Pelicans will play in Smoothie King Center". USA Today. New Orleans. February 6, 2014. ISSN 0734-7456. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  7. ^ "Smoothie King Promotes Dan Harmon to President". QSR. September 5, 2019. Archived from the original on December 19, 2019. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  8. ^ Kaminski, Lauren (August 9, 2016). "Smoothie King Continues Aggressive International Expansion Efforts, Signs Multi-Unit, Multi-Brand Franchisees to Develop Four Locations in Trinidad and Tobago" (press release). Smoothie King. Archived from the original on April 23, 2021. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  9. ^ "Smoothie King Singapore stores close". Inside Retail. March 30, 2016. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved December 23, 2021.

External links[edit]