In this exclusive Q&A, we will be learning about Smoothie King’s First Responders Initiative from its Franchise Development Manager, Chad Tramuta.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you tell us about the Smoothie King First Responders Initiative? What inspired its creation?
Chad Tramuta (CT): The Smoothie King First Responders Initiative was created as a way to thank our first responders for their service to our communities by providing them with a viable business opportunity. The initiative provides a way for first responders to continue to provide a helpful service to their communities without needing to put their lives at risk.
Smoothie King has long offered incentives to military veterans through the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program, but the First Responders Initiative breaks new industry ground.
FC: Who qualifies for the First Responders incentive?
CT: Firefighters, police officers and EMTs who have completed at least 10 years of service qualify for the incentive.
FC: What is the discount that first responders receive when coming on board with Smoothie King?
CT: Qualified first responders will receive a 20% discount off the initial franchise fee.
FC: What is it about the Smoothie King franchise opportunity that makes it so appealing to first responders?
CT: Smoothie King’s community service-oriented culture, combined with the process of following a system and training store teams, parallels closely with the mindsets of first responders.
We believe that through this incentive, we are giving first responders a way to serve their community after they are done ‘serving their community.’ Smoothie King franchisees are actively involved in the communities in which they operate and most participate in community donation events, catering of local church functions, sporting events, etc., and local disaster relief.
In addition, the franchise opportunity offers first responders a maximized ROI, low cost of labor and goods, and the potential for long-term growth.
FC: What characteristics do first responders possess that make them ideal franchise candidates?
CT: First responders are dedicated to serving and supporting their local communities and are highly-motivated, passionate, and driven individuals with a strong work ethic — characteristics that align perfectly with the values of a successful Smoothie King operator. Their passion for their community works hand in hand with a brand like Smoothie King that has made social responsibility as part of its core mission.
We have built a brand culture and philosophy that is a great fit for first responders who are thinking about making a career shift to entrepreneurship.
FC: Are there specific areas that you are targeting for growth with the program?
CT: The Smoothie King First Responders Initiative is part of a larger growth strategy that aims to expand the brand into new and existing markets, Baltimore, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Chicago, Columbia, D.C., Jacksonville, Memphis, Nashville, Raleigh, St. Louis, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Charlotte, and Tulsa.
FC: Do you have any first responders in your system right now?
CT: Yes, in fact, Jarrod “JJ” Johnson is one of our best operators. JJ opened a Smoothie King in Rome, Georgia in October 2016 and continues to prove why first responders make extremely good franchisees. Originally from Houston, Texas, JJ served on the Houston Police Department for 11 years before transitioning to business ownership after his wife was transferred to Georgia for work.
Day in and day out, JJ utilizes his first responder skill set to make a difference in his community. Through his active involvement with local organizations and his desire to continuously give back to those in need, JJ is the perfect example of a successful operator.
FC: Tell us about the Smoothie King franchise opportunity. What is the overall investment? Has the company received any accolades recently?
CT: The Smoothie King franchise opportunity offers potential franchisees a way to inspire healthy/active lifestyles within their own communities. Smoothie King has a simple-to-execute business model, low initial investment, low labor costs, simple operations, and most importantly, no need for industry experience.
With a total initial investment ranging from $225,650 to $426,185, each franchise location requires a minimum of $100,000 in cash and a net worth of $300,000.
For 24 years, Smoothie King has been ranked No. 1 in its category on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list.
FC: How can people learn more about Smoothie King and the First Responders Initiative?
CT: To learn more about the Smoothie King franchise opportunity and the First Responders Initiative, please visit http://www.smoothiekingfranchise.com/.