Tropical Smoothie Cafe

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC
Tropical Smoothie Café
GenreFast casual
Founded1997; 25 years ago (1997) in Destin, Florida, U.S.
  • Eric Jenrich
  • Delora Jenrich
  • David Walker
Atlanta, Georgia
Number of locations
1,000 as of August 27, 2021
Area served
United States
Key people
  • Charles Watson (CEO)
Revenue$500 million[1]
OwnerLevine Leichtman Capital Partners
Number of employees
2,000+ (2018)

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, sometimes referred to as Tropical Smoothie, or Tropical, is a restaurant franchise in the United States. In addition to smoothies, the cafes offer sandwiches, wraps, salads, flat breads, and introduced bowls to their food line in 2017. Tropical Smoothie Cafe operates more than 1100 locations nationwide with 2,000 projected openings across the United States by 2024.


Tropical Smoothie Cafe's Island Green smoothie
Interior of a Tropical Smoothie Café franchise in Belle Haven, Fairfax County, Virginia

Tropical Smoothie began as a smoothie shop in 1993 along the panhandle of Florida. Tropical Smoothie Franchise Development Corporation was founded in 1997 in Destin, Florida, and the first franchised store opened in 1998 in Tallahassee, Florida. Tropical Smoothie Cafe is currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 1999, they created a niche in the smoothie category by introducing a line of food items including sandwiches and wraps. As more locations opened, the individual Cafes redesigned their store decor to offer a beach house theme with bright white walls, an open kitchen concept, vibrant colors, and tropical artwork.[citation needed]

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.[2] They opened their 400th location in Toledo, Ohio, 500th location in Westland, Michigan, and in 2017 their 600th location in Joplin, Missouri. They opened their 800th location in Arlington Heights, IL in 2019.

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.

In 2012, private equity firm Buckhead Investment Partners (BIP) bought a controlling interest in Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Founders Eric Jenrich and David Walker, the former owners of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, remained on the board of directors, and former Chief Operating Officer, Mike Rotondo, was promoted to replace Jenrich as chief executive officer in 2012 until his departure in 2018. BIP partner Scott Pressly, who was a financial and strategic adviser to the chain since 2007 served as the chairman until 2020. The brand was acquired by private equity firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners (LLCP) in September 2020. Charles Watson currently serves as the chief executive officer.

Since 2019, the company has been the title sponsor of the Frisco Bowl.[3]


Tropical Smoothie Cafe's menu includes smoothies, sandwiches, flat-breads, wraps, bowls, and breakfast items. They offer superfood, classic, indulgent, and supercharged smoothies along with supplements that may be added to each smoothie.[4] The best-selling smoothie has continued to be the Island Green.

Tropical Smoothie Cafes sales are made up of 50% smoothie sales and 50% food sales.[5]

In May 2013, Tropical Smoothie Cafe began offering a vegan, non-GMO meat substitute called Beyond Meat.[6] Beyond Meat is made of a blend of faba bean protein, pea protein, flours, and fiber. In July 2013, Tropical Smoothie Cafe announced that Beyond Meat would become a permanent fixture on the menu.[7]


  1. ^ "Tropical Smoothie Cafe growth plans". August 27, 2021.[self-published source][dead link]
  2. ^ "Tropical Smoothie Cafe outlines growth plans". Nation's Restaurant News. May 3, 2011.
  3. ^ Negron, Anna (August 15, 2019). "Tropical Smoothie Cafe Named Title Sponsor of Frisco Bowl". ESPN Press Room. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  4. ^ "Tropical Smoothie Cafe". Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  5. ^ "Tropical Smoothie exec upbeat about 2011". Nation's Restaurant News. February 15, 2011.
  6. ^ mary (May 29, 2013). "Tropical Smoothie Ditches the Meat for Latest Menu Addition". Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Erin Dostal (July 9, 2013). "Tropical Smoothie Café to add meatless protein to permanent menu". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved November 13, 2017.