Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Tropical Smoothie Cafe, sometimes referred to as simply Tropical Smoothie, is a restaurant franchise in the U.S. In addition to smoothies the company is a full Cafe that offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, and introduced flat breads to their food line in 2009.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe currently operate more than 300 locations in 34 different states.
Tropical Smoothie began as a smoothie shop in 1993. Tropical Smoothie Franchise Development Corporation was founded in 1997 in Destin, Florida. The first franchised store opened in 1997 in Tallahassee, Florida.
In 1999, they created a niche in the smoothie category by introducing a line of food items such as sandwiches and wraps. As more locations opened, the individual Cafes went through some changes. They redesigned their store's decor to offer a tropical theme with bamboo walls, palm trees, bright colors, and original Bob Stedman artwork creations.
The franchise celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2007 and was opening a new store at a pace of every 6–7 days at the time. In 2006, Tropical Smoothie Cafe opened their 200th store in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and in 2011 they opened their 300th store in Fort Myers, Florida.
Founders and original owners Eric and Delora Jenrich and David Walker came from franchise backgrounds and used that knowledge to grow Tropical Smoothie Cafe. As they grew they recruited others from the food industry, including the hiring of their current chief executive officer Mike Rotondo who had previous experience at companies such as Great Wraps, Arby's and HoneyBaked Ham.
In 2012, private equity firm BIP Opportunities Fund bought a controlling interest in Tropical Smoothie Café. Founders Eric Jenrich and David Walker, the former owners of Tropical Smoothie Café, remain on the board of directors, and former chief operating officer Mike Rotondo was promoted to replace Jenrich as chief executive officer. BIP partner Scott Pressly, who was a financial and strategic advisor to the chain since 2009, is now the company’s chairman.
The company posted over 100 million dollars in sales during 2008.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe's menu includes smoothies, sandwiches, flat breads, wraps, salads, breakfast wraps, breakfast ciabattas, and breakfast bagels. They offer low fat smoothies, indulgent smoothies, and supercharged smoothies along with supplements that may be added to each smoothie.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe also rolls out Limited Time Offerings 4–5 times per year. Previous LTOs include a spinach wrap and salad, a guava flavored smoothie, a spicy Thai chicken wrap, a sweet chili chicken flatbread, and more. In January 2013, Tropical Smoothie Cafe unveiled their newest menu items—Tropical Tacos and the Perfect Passion Fruit Smoothie.
Tropical Smoothie Cafes sales are made up of 50 percent smoothie sales and 50 percent food sales.
In May 2013, Tropical Smoothie Cafe began offering a vegan, non-gmo meat substitute called Beyond Meat. Beyond Meat is made of a blend of soy and pea protein, flours, and fiber. In July 2013, Tropical Smoothie Cafe announced that Beyond Meat would become a permanent fixture on the menu.
To celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2007, Tropical Smoothie Cafe created a holiday called National Flip Flop Day. Every year, on the third Friday in June, Tropical Smoothie Café celebrates National Flip Flop Day. Customers who come into a participating Cafe across the nation from 2 pm to 7 pm while wearing flip flops will receive a free 24oz. Jetty Punch Smoothie. Tropical Smoothie gives proceeds of a $1 paper flip flop from customers to send ill children and their families to Camp Sunshine. Camp Sunshine is a retreat based in Casco, Maine, whose mission is focused solely on addressing the effects of a life-threatening illness on every member of the immediate family—the ill child, the parents, and the siblings. The year-round program is free of charge to families.
In 2012, Tropical Smoothie Cafe raised more than $365,000 for Camp Sunshine, which brought the total amount raised since 2007 to more than $1.5 million. Money raised from Tropical Smoothie Cafe in 2012 will send 150 children and their families from across the country to camp for a week of games and activities. At their current fundraising rate of up to $400,000 per year, Tropical Smoothie Café is expected to raise more than $2 million for Camp Sunshine during the next five years. Of this $2 million, the company has pledged $1 million toward endowing a full weeklong session at Camp Sunshine every year—Tropical Smoothie Café Week.
- "Tropical Smoothie Cafe outlines growth plans". Nation's Restaurant News. May 3, 2011.
- "Smoothie purveyor thirsting for DC". Washington Times. January 18, 2004.
- "Fish, Chicken Tacos Join Tropical Smoothie Cafe Menu". January 7, 2013.
- "Tropical Smoothie exec upbeat about 2011". Nation's Restaurant News. February 15, 2011.
- "Tropical Smoothie Cafe Raises $365,000 For Camp Sunshine Through Annual National Flip Flop Day Fundraiser". PR Newswire. August 8, 2012.