Opening a smoothie franchise can be a profitable business venture, but the costs involved are not insignificant. The total investment to open a smoothie franchise ranges from around $130,000 to $350,000 on average. This includes the franchise fee, buildout and equipment costs, inventory, working capital, and other expenses. However, costs can vary widely depending on the size and style of the location, equipment packages, and other factors.
The franchise fee alone for most smoothie franchises ranges from around $25,000 to $50,000. This gives you the right to use the franchisor’s brand name, systems, processes, training, and marketing support. It is a one-time, upfront cost. Some of the more well-known smoothie franchises and their approximate franchise fees include:
|Tropical Smoothie Cafe||$35,000|
The franchise fee gives you the right to open one location. Opening additional units can require an additional fee around $20,000 – $30,000 per location.
Some franchises like Planet Smoothie offer area developer rights instead of single unit franchises. This allows you to open multiple units in a designated area for a higher upfront cost around $125,000 – $150,000.
The franchise fee pays for your access to the brand, systems, and training. But it is not the only cost required to open.
Store Buildout and Equipment
After paying the franchise fee, you still have to invest in building out and equipping your location. This includes things like:
- Constructing the store interior space
- Purchasing and installing equipment like blenders, freezers, refrigerators, dishwasher, point of sale system
- Smallwares like cups, lids, spoons, knives
Smoothie franchises offer different equipment and buildout package options. Packages that include more equipment tend to cost more. Budget around $75,000 – $200,000+ for your location’s buildout and equipment costs. Franchisors can provide equipment vendors and specifications to follow. Some factors affecting costs include:
- Size of location – Small kiosks around 300 sq ft cost less than a 1,500+ sq ft standalone building
- New buildout vs retrofit of existing space
- Equipment upgrades
- Type of smoothie store – A full-menu smoothie caf?? requires more equipment than a simpler express model
- Customization beyond the basic franchise specs
Your real estate lease costs also factor in. Prices vary dramatically based on location. Securing an affordable lease is key to controlling buildout costs.
You need raw ingredients to start making smoothies, as well as ingredients for any other menu items like wraps, sandwiches, oatmeal bowls, or supplements. Opening inventory to stock your store adequately can cost around $5,000 – $10,000. Costs vary based on menu size and store size.
Most smoothie franchises help source opening inventory for you at discounted rates. But you need enough working capital to purchase ingredients. Inventory is an ongoing operational cost as well.
Miscellaneous Opening Costs
Some other typical startup costs for a new smoothie franchise include:
- Licenses and permits
- Business insurance
- Initial franchise training
- Legal fees for reviewing franchise agreement
- Hiring and training staff
- POS system and additional tech needs
- Marketing and advertising at opening
- Utilities, deposits, and pre-opening rent
Budget several thousand dollars for these various start-up fees and expenses. Exact amounts depend on your specific business.
Working capital gives you reserve cash to operate on until the business achieves profitability and begins generating positive cash flow. This keeps the doors open during the initial ramp-up period before the store starts consistently covering its own expenses.
Smoothie franchises recommend having $50,000 – $150,000+ in working capital at opening. This gives you a cushion to rely on while building up the customer base.
Having inadequate working capital is one of the most common reasons new franchise units fail. Undercapitalization leads to financial issues down the road.
Total Investment Amount
The total investment to open a smoothie franchise combines all of these costs:
- Franchise fee
- Store buildout and equipment
- Opening inventory
- Working capital
- Other startup costs like licenses, marketing, training, etc.
The total typically ranges from $130,000 – $350,000+, with multi-unit franchise agreements at the higher end.
Here are some examples based on published Franchise Disclosure Documents:
|Franchise||Total Investment Range|
|Jamba Juice||$315,710 – $789,249|
|Smoothie King||$134,294 – $584,077|
|Tropical Smoothie Cafe||$201,500 – $440,500|
As shown, costs vary widely for different brands based on location, size, layout, equipment needs, and other individual factors. The franchisor can provide an estimate for your specific situation during the application process.
Ongoing Royalty Fees
Once your smoothie franchise is open and operating, most franchisors charge a weekly or monthly royalty fee. This covers your continual use of the brand and systems. Royalty fees are typically 5-7% of gross sales.
So the initial franchise investment gets you started, but royalties take a percentage of revenues ongoing to stay affiliated with the brand. Consider royalties along with other recurring costs like rent, labor, ingredients, and marketing when building your business plan.
Coming up with $130,000 – $350,000+ in liquid capital is no easy feat for most prospective franchisees. Here are some options for financing a smoothie franchise:
Some franchisors like Smoothie King offer direct lending programs to help finance new units. You borrow a portion of the startup costs from the franchisor and pay it back over time with interest. Terms vary, but often around 30% down payment is required.
The SBA offers disaster relief loans that can be used for opening a franchise. Rates are capped at around 8% and loan limits at $2 million.
SBA 7(a) Loans
These loans also come from the SBA but are delivered by partner lenders. Borrow up to $5 million for your franchise with low guarantee fees.
Rollovers for Business Startups
ROBS let you use funds from a 401(k) or IRA to start a franchise without early withdrawal penalties. It involves creating a C corporation that sponsors a new retirement plan and uses invested funds.
Conventional Business Loans
Banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer small business loans. Rates vary greatly. Expect to put up collateral and have strong credit.
Instead of purchasing equipment, leasing through a financing company is an option. Payments are made monthly over several years.
Factor companies give you a portion of the value of your outstanding invoices upfront. As customers pay, you repay the factor company. Helpful for ongoing cash flow.
Merchant cash advances, 401(k) business financing, and equity fundraising sites provide other creative financing options for franchises.
Some franchises offer 50% or more financing for multi-unit franchise agreements. This reduces the total capital you need to develop an area.
Pros and Cons of Smoothie Franchises
Here are some key advantages and drawbacks to weigh when considering opening a smoothie franchise:
- Established brand recognition and customer base
- Proven business systems and processes
- Training and ongoing franchise support
- Purchasing power for discounted supplies
- Marketing assistance
- Potential for expansion and multi-unit development
- High startup costs compared to independent startups
- Monthly royalties and fees
- Less control over branding, menus, suppliers, etc.
- New units can saturate markets and hurt sales
- Profits passed back to the franchisor
Opening a smoothie franchise has notable advantages that improve your chances of success. But the ongoing brand relationship also comes with compromises and costs compared to an independent business.
Here are some key points on smoothie franchise costs:
- The total investment ranges from around $130,000 – $350,000
- Franchise fee is $25,000 – $50,000 for single units
- Buildout and equipment costs often $75,000 – $200,000+
- Factor in $50,000+ in working capital
- Ongoing royalties are around 5-7% of revenue
- Financing options include SBA loans, equipment leasing, franchisor lending, and more
- Weigh advantages like brand recognition against compromises like less independence
Smoothie franchises allow you to capitalize on a proven business model. But the investment required is significant. Carefully assess your specific business plan and goals to determine if franchising is the right choice for your smoothie endeavor.
Opening a smoothie franchise requires an investment ranging from $130,000 to over $350,000 for single and multi-unit agreements. The franchise fee gives you the rights to the brand, while equipment, inventory, working capital, and other expenses get the business up and running. Ongoing royalties also take a percentage of revenue. Costs can vary widely, so work with franchisors to understand total investments for your specific situation. Weigh the advantages of franchising against the compromises and decide if it fits your smoothie business goals. Thoroughly exploring your financing options is also key to securing the capital needed to open and operate a successful smoothie franchise location.