Is Urban Juicer a franchise?

Urban Juicer is a popular juicing company that offers cold-pressed juices and cleanses. With locations across the United States, many people wonder if Urban Juicer is a franchise or not. In this article, we’ll examine the background of Urban Juicer and look at the evidence to determine if it operates as a franchise business model.

What is Urban Juicer?

Urban Juicer was founded in 2012 by James Andrews and Sam Hansen in Newport Beach, California. The company started as a small juice shop with the goal of providing high-quality, organic cold-pressed juices and cleanses.

Urban Juicer has grown rapidly since its founding. It now has over 100 locations across the United States, primarily concentrated in California, Texas, and Florida. In addition to their juice bar locations, Urban Juicer sells pre-bottled juices in grocery stores and markets.

The company focuses on sourcing organic, local ingredients whenever possible. Their juices are made by pressing or “masticating” vegetables and fruits to extract the liquid. This cold-press process helps preserve nutrients and enzymes.

Urban Juicer offers juices in many unique flavor combinations. Their most popular items include green juices, citrus juices, and root-based juices featuring ingredients like ginger and turmeric. They also offer juice cleanses or “reboot” programs lasting one to five days.

Is Urban Juicer a Franchise?

So is Urban Juicer a franchise company? The short answer is no. Here are a few key reasons why Urban Juicer is not structured as a franchise:

– Urban Juicer is privately owned. The company was founded and is still operated by its two original owners, James Andrews and Sam Hansen. It is not divided into individual franchise units.

– There are no Urban Juicer franchisees. All locations are corporate-owned and operated by Urban Juicer staff. You cannot purchase an individual Urban Juicer franchise.

– There is no franchise disclosure document. Legitimate franchise companies are legally required to provide a franchise disclosure document (FDD) outlining the terms of franchise ownership. Urban Juicer does not distribute an FDD.

– Lack of trademark licensing. Official franchises license their trademark and branding to individual franchisees. Urban Juicer has not set up licensing arrangements to allow third parties to use its name and brand.

– No advertising fund contributions. Traditional franchises require franchisees to pay into an advertising fund. Urban Juicer locations do not pay into a centralized fund.

So by all accounts, Urban Juicer operates as a privately held corporation with multiple company-owned locations. It exhibits none of the defining characteristics of a franchise systems.

Urban Juicer’s Corporate Structure

As a privately held, non-franchised company, Urban Juicer has a relatively simple corporate structure. Here are some details on how the company is organized:

– Headquarters are located in Newport Beach, California.

– Has about 100 corporate-owned juice bar locations in three states.

– Operations, marketing, finance, purchasing, and other functions are managed centrally at headquarters.

– Each location has an on-site manager who oversees daily operations. Managers report to regional supervisors.

– Ingredients are sourced and prepared at a central commissary kitchen, then distributed to retail locations.

– Owners James Andrews and Sam Hansen have a controlling interest and make major strategic and financial decisions.

So Urban Juicer exhibits a centralized structure typical of a privately owned retail chain. Critical business functions are controlled at the corporate level, while local store managers oversee day-to-day operations. There is no franchisor-franchisee relationship within the company.

The Origin and Growth of Urban Juicer

To understand Urban Juicer’s corporate structure, it helps to know the company’s origin story and how the business has grown over time.

Here is an overview of the history and expansion of Urban Juicer:

– Founded in 2012 by James Andrews and Sam Hansen in Newport Beach, CA. The founders invested $100,000 of their own money to start the business.

– The first location opened in 2013 and quickly gained a loyal following. Up to 50 customers would line up outside the store each morning.

– A second Urban Juicer opened in 2014 after the company secured financing from private investors and a bank loan.

– By 2016, there were 10 Urban Juicer locations concentrated around Southern California. A central production facility was opened to supply juices to retail stores.

– The company expanded northward in 2017 by opening its first Bay Area store in San Francisco.

– In 2018, Urban Juicer raised $8 million in venture capital funding to finance a nationwide expansion. The company aims to reach 250 locations by 2025.

– By late 2022, there are over 100 Urban Juicer outlets across California, Texas, Florida, and a handful of other states.

As this timeline shows, Urban Juicer has experienced rapid growth fueled by the founders’ initial investments and ongoing injections of outside capital. The need to finance and manage this growth likely motivated the owners to retain private control rather than pursuing a franchise model.

Advantages of a Non-Franchise Structure

Urban Juicer has several strategic reasons for remaining a privately held, non-franchised company:

– **Maintain flexibility and control.** With no outside franchisees, the owners have full control over strategy, branding, pricing, menus, and product sourcing. This makes it easier to align operations with the company’s values and vision.

– **Consolidate supply chain.** Urban Juicer can optimize its supply chain by centralizing production and distribution through its own facilities. This increases quality control and reduces costs.

– **Operational consistency.** Keeping locations corporate-owned allows Urban Juicer to fully standardize processes across all stores. There is less risk of variance in quality between different franchisee operators.

– **Rapid expansion.** As a non-franchise, Urban Juicer can open new stores and enter new markets quickly with minimal bureaucracy. The company can act nimbly to pursue growth opportunities.

– **Access investor capital.** Retaining full ownership keeps the company attractive for equity investments. Urban Juicer can raise outside capital to fund expansion rather than relying on franchise fees.

Overall, remaining privately held with no franchised locations allows Urban Juicer maximum flexibility and control over its operations, brand, and growth. This corporate structure matches the strategic vision of the company’s founders.

Possible Future Considerations

While Urban Juicer has no immediate plans to franchise, the company could reevaluate that strategy in the future for several reasons:

– **Expand reach.** Franchising could accelerate Urban Juicer’s expansion into new geographic markets across the U.S. Franchisees could reach smaller cities the company otherwise wouldn’t target.

– **Diversify risk.** The financial risks of growth would be spread across multiple franchisees rather than sitting solely with company ownership.

– **Leverage local expertise.** Franchisees have in-depth knowledge of their local markets that could inform location selection and marketing.

– **Free up corporate resources.** Relying on franchise operators would allow Urban Juicer executives to focus more on strategy and less on day-to-day retail operations.

However, the disadvantages and loss of control associated with franchising could dissuade Urban Juicer from pursuing this model. The company may aim to fund more corporate locations through debt or equity financing. But the option to franchise remains on the table as a potential future consideration.

Comparison to Juice Competitors

To provide more context, it is interesting to compare Urban Juicer’s structure to competing juice and smoothie chains:

Company Franchised or Corporate Owned? # of Locations
Jamba Juice Mix of franchise and corporate owned Over 800
Smoothie King 100% franchised 900+
Juice It Up! 100% franchised Over 100
Nekter Juice Bar Mix of franchise and corporate owned About 170
Urban Juicer 100% corporate owned Over 100

This comparison shows that Urban Juicer is unique among major juice chains in remaining completely corporate owned. Both Jamba Juice and Nekter Juice Bar operate some franchised units alongside corporate stores. Meanwhile, Smoothie King and Juice It Up! have built out their footprints entirely through franchising.

Urban Juicer follows its own path by retaining exclusive corporate ownership and control. As a young growth company, this strategy provides flexibility and positions the brand for rapid expansion on its own terms.

Requirements to Open an Urban Juicer Franchise

Because Urban Juicer is not currently a franchise, there are no specific franchisee requirements or process to open a franchised location. However, if the company did shift to a franchise model in the future, it would likely have prerequisites for prospective franchisees similar to other food and beverage franchises like Jamba Juice.

Potential Urban Juicer franchise requirements could include:

– **Liquid capital/net worth.** May require ~$250k minimum in liquid assets and ~$500k+ in minimum net worth to qualify. Ensures financial means to start and operate the business.

– **Franchise fee.** Could charge an upfront franchise fee of ~$30k – $50k for the rights to operate under the Urban Juicer name and system.

– **Royalty.** May charge an ongoing royalty fee (4-6% of revenue) for continued branding and support.

– **Real estate.** Franchisees may need to provide their own location that meets specifications and is approved.

– **Operations experience.** Likely would require some experience managing or working in a juice bar, café, or related food service business.

– **Training/onboarding.** May require completion of a training program at HQ and onsite at an existing store.

– **Marketing budget.** Could stipulate investing a minimum percentage of revenue into local marketing.

These are hypothetical requirements, but they align with typical prerequisites for owning and operating a retail food/beverage franchise location. Urban Juicer would need to define franchise policies to protect its brand.


In summary, Urban Juicer is not currently structured as a franchise. The juice chain is a privately owned corporation with multiple retail locations across three states. All stores are owned and operated by the corporation itself rather than a network of franchisees.

Urban Juicer exhibits full control over its brand, supply chain, expansion plans, and customer experience. The founders have strategically chosen to retain corporate ownership to maintain flexibility as the business scales nationwide.

While not a franchise now, Urban Juicer could revisit franchising in the future as a growth strategy. But the existing corporate structure provides strategic advantages that enable Urban Juicer to thrive as a leading juice purveyor.

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