Is it worth working at Smoothie King?

Smoothie King is a popular smoothie franchise with over 1000 locations across the United States. The company was founded in 1973 and has grown substantially over the past few decades. Smoothie King offers a wide variety of fruity drinks and healthy snacks. For many people, especially students and those new to the workforce, Smoothie King can be an attractive place to work. The job offers flexible scheduling,discounts on food and drinks, and a fun, energetic environment. However, like any food service job, working at Smoothie King also comes with challenges. As you consider applying for a job at Smoothie King, here are some key factors to keep in mind.

What are the basic job requirements at Smoothie King?

Most entry-level jobs at Smoothie King involve working at the front counter as a team member or shift leader. This means taking customer orders, blending smoothies, operating the cash register, cleaning equipment, prepping ingredients, and maintaining store cleanliness. The work is fast-paced and you’ll be on your feet for most, if not all, of your shift. Smoothie King prefers to promote from within, so top performers can be considered for advancement opportunities to management positions.

What is the work environment like?

The atmosphere at Smoothie King is lively and casual. Popular music plays throughout the store all day to keep energy levels high. Because smoothies are seen as a nutritious, quick meal option, stores tend to be busiest in the mornings and around lunchtime. Be prepared for a rush of customers and multitasking during these peak hours. Things may slow down in the mid-afternoon until schools and offices close for the day. Once evening hits, stores see another wave of customers stopping by for a snack or treat. Weekends also tend to be busy, especially on hot summer days when people want a cold smoothie fix. The blenders are noisy, so it can get loud in the store, which some employees may find bothersome after a full shift. Overall though, Smoothie King maintains an upbeat, friendly environment for its staff and customers.

What are the usual shifts like?

As a new team member at Smoothie King, you’ll likely be started on shorter, less desirable shifts until you learn the ropes. These tend to be 3-5 hour shifts scheduled during the slowest times, like weekday mornings. Once you have more experience under your belt, you can expect to be scheduled during busier and longer shifts. Opening and closing shifts are each 8-10 hours long and include prep and closing duties at the store. The most coveted mid-day shifts run from 10am-4pm during peak hours when you’ll get the most experience working the blenders and serving customers. Schedules vary from week to week and are posted 2 weeks in advance. Employees are expected to have open availability, especially on weekends and holidays when stores are busiest. Be prepared to work a variety of morning, afternoon, evening and weekend shifts at Smoothie King.

How much does Smoothie King pay?

Hourly pay at Smoothie King ranges from minimum wage for entry level team members up to $13 or $14 per hour for experienced shift leads. There are also performance based incentives you can earn for upselling products, speed of service, and positive customer reviews. In addition to your hourly pay, one of the best perks for employees is getting free or discounted smoothies and other menu items when you work. This can add up to significant savings if you frequently take advantage of these discounts. There is potential to earn raises over time based on your performance, reliability, and tenure with the company. Those in management roles like store manager typically earn a salary averaging $35,000 per year. Keep in mind pay and benefits can vary somewhat between different Smoothie King franchise locations.

What training is provided?

New hires go through Smoothie King’s training program to learn food safety basics, smoothie blending methods, customer service standards, and other store operations. You’ll spend your first several shifts learning alongside a more experienced team member until you’re ready to fly solo. Smoothie King focuses on training staff thoroughly from day one so employees feel confident and capable behind the counter. The training teaches you how to engage customers in friendly conversations to create a welcoming experience while accurately fulfilling orders in a timely manner. Outside of the hands-on training you receive, there are short online courses and quizzes to complete as well. Ongoing training is provided too through daily tastings of new menu items so staff are knowledgeable about the entire product line.

What are the advancement opportunities?

Starting out at entry level, hard-working team members who demonstrate leadership qualities can move up to the shift leader role fairly quickly with extensive on-the-job training. From there, shift leaders may have the opportunity to advance to assistant manager, general manager, and even franchise owner if that is of interest. Smoothie King prefers to promote from within and fill upper management positions with experienced internal candidates. But it can take several years of increasing responsibilities before getting to those higher managerial levels. If you’re looking for quicker advancement potential, Smoothie King may not be the best option. However, if you’re eager to learn the ins and outs of the smoothie business, the opportunities are certainly there further down the road.

What are some of the biggest pros of working there?

Some of the best parts of working at Smoothie King that employees tend to enjoy include:

  • Flexible scheduling great for students
  • Fast-paced, energetic environment
  • Discounts on smoothies and other menu items
  • Opportunities for advancement and growth
  • Fun team atmosphere and bond with co-workers
  • Getting to sample new smoothie creations
  • Learning business operations and customer service skills

The flexible scheduling in particular makes Smoothie King an ideal first job for high school and college students looking to earn some extra cash without interfering with classes. And drinking delicious smoothies never gets old!

What are the biggest cons or complaints?

On the flip side, there are a few downsides to working at Smoothie King that employees frequently cite:

  • Low starting pay at or near minimum wage
  • Minimal health insurance or benefits for part-time staff
  • Tips are less common than at full-service restaurants
  • Very fast paced during rushes leading to high stress
  • Cleaning blenders and other equipment can be tiring
  • Poor management and lack of structured training at some locations
  • Standing for entire shift can be exhausting

Managers pushing team members to meet intense sales goals and upsell items is another issue some staff complain about. The work can be grueling and thankless during peak times. Corporate-owned locations tend to offer better training and management support than independently owned franchises. Culture and conditions can vary quite a bit between different Smoothie King locations.


Working at Smoothie King offers some nice perks like flexible hours and free drinks that make it appealing for students and those new to the workforce. However, the low pay, minimal benefits, and demanding fast-paced environment may wear thin quickly for many employees. It can serve as a good starting job to gain basic skills and experience that could lead to better opportunities down the road. For those looking to advance at Smoothie King into management roles, the potential for internal growth and promotion is there with commitment over time. But for the majority of entry level team members, it may be best suited as a short-term job rather than a long-term career. Weigh the pros and cons carefully if you’re considering applying. Getting firsthand insight from current and past employees at your local Smoothie King can help inform your decision. Just be prepared for a harried work environment and gaining the inevitable “freshman 15” from all the sweet treats!

Pros and Cons of Working at Smoothie King
Pros Cons
Flexible scheduling Low wages
Energetic environment Minimal benefits
Employee discounts Little chance for tips
Advancement opportunities High stress during rushes
Trying new smoothies Tiring cleaning duties
Developing business skills Inconsistent management

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