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Review of the Planet Smoothie Franchise Opp and Startup Costs

There’s just something special about a great tasting smoothie that brings kids and adults back wanting more. They’re a healthy drink when made without extra sugars, can include vegetables, and even supplements and other boosters can be added for energy or better health. It’s an industry that has realized $2 billion in total sales and it is expected to see 25% growth within the next three years. If your community could use a smoothie franchise, then Planet Smoothie might just be the perfect opportunity for you.

What Are the Initial Costs of This Franchise?

The initial startup cost of this franchise is about $100k in total. Some units may find a slightly lower total initial investment required and the high end estimate is $309k. In return, you’ll be joining the third largest smoothie chain in the United States that emphasizes a product that is the best tasting smoothie on the planet. It’s combined with the Tasti D-Lite product brand that features frozen desserts that are healthier and celebrity endorsed, so there are plenty of marketing opportunities available.

Planet Smoothie is also a participant in VetFran, which encourages veterans of the US military to invest into a franchise and become their own boss. Qualified veterans who have been honorably discharged or their families will receive a 25% discount on the franchise fee of $30k for a full unit or $20k for a kiosk unit. There is a reduce franchise fee for multiple units that are developed.

Planet Smoothie also offers a franchise opportunity on a large scale that they call the “Area Developer.” This opportunity gives an investor the chance to develop an exclusive territory that can be up to the size of an entire state. This is primarily for investment groups or companies that are looking to diversify revenue streams, but could be right for the right qualified entrepreneur. Most franchises have a minimum size requirement of 750 square feet if they are a full unit.

What Kind of Support Is Received?

Planet Smoothie offers franchisees a high level of initial and ongoing support as an investor. It all begins with Planet Smoothie University, where each new franchisee is brought on board with their managers to learn the operating system that is in place. The training program includes hands-on training in actual stores that will help to ready you for your own location’s grand opening.

After you’ve completed the training course, you’ll also receive extensive ongoing support from the organization to make sure your operations are always up to speed on best practices. You’ll also receive help with your initial store design, assistance with the build out, and the organization will even help with site finding and lease negotiation. Throughout the entire process, you’ll get support visitations and business coaching to establish the brand identity of Planet Smoothie within your community.

Planet Smoothie also offers franchisees a lot of ongoing marketing programs that will help to further niche saturation in your community for your investment. There are a number of national campaigns that are always in the works, while local store marketing programs are also run simultaneously. There’s also new product development going on to help drive sales, a dedicated public relations team, and even help with product manufacturing, logistics, and procurement.

What About the SBA Statistics?

When considering an investment opportunity, it is important to consider all of the information available to you as a process of due diligence. For the Planet Smoothie franchise, it is interesting to note that the number of franchisees who have applied for a SBA loan and failed to repay them based on the terms is nearly 50%. Any investment brings about a level of risk, of course, but with a nearly 1 in 2 ratio of loan failures, there could be a red flag raised.

There has also been a dramatic decrease in the amount of Planet Smoothie franchises operating over the past year. Over 20 locations have gone out of business, accounting for over 15% of the total chain from coast to coast. Does that mean you’ll experience a similar result? Of course not. It does mean, however, that this investment opportunity requires a higher level of due diligence than others may require.

Is This the Right Investment To Make For You?

The smoothie market definitely has its ups and its downs. It may not be right for your community just for the fact that there could be an over-saturation of the product. It might not be right because the demographics aren’t right. A smoothie is considered by many to be a quality item to get as a drink or a snack, so if times are tight, then your store won’t be visited. That’s why it is so important to test the concept of Planet Smoothie out in your preferred market before pursuing a franchising opportunity in this niche.

If your numbers do come out in your favor, then this organization does have the tools to help you build up a mutual level of success. With smoothie recipes that taste great, low calorie options that will encourage people to stay on their weight goals, and healthy snacks and foods that can supplement a hunger craving without putting on huge levels of fat, Planet Smoothie has a lot of tools in the toolbox for an investor to use. When placed in the right community, neighborhood, or location, there could be a lot of success generated.

Because of the recent failures, however, proceeding with a high level of caution is wise. If you have a passion to help people achieve their health goals and you love working within the food service industry, then this niche could provide you with the perfect opportunity to get your own business up and running. The initial investment is fair, discounts are available, and that means the time could be right at this moment to begin the franchising conversation.

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