What is the youngest Smoothie King to hire?

Smoothie King is a popular smoothie franchise with over 1,300 locations across the world. As a large franchise operation, Smoothie King locations are owned and operated by individual franchisees who often make their own hiring decisions within company guidelines. This means the minimum hiring age can vary between locations. However, Smoothie King corporate does provide some recommendations on employee age requirements that can help narrow down the youngest hiring age across the franchise.

Smoothie King Corporate Hiring Guidelines

While individual franchise owners make final hiring decisions, Smoothie King corporate does provide some recommendations on employee age requirements in their operations manual. These include:

  • Cashiers should be at least 16 years old
  • Smoothie makers should be at least 18 years old
  • Shift leaders should be at least 18 years old

These corporate recommendations are intended to provide a baseline for hiring, but the final decision lies with each franchisee. Some locations may set higher minimum age requirements, while others may potentially hire younger, particularly for entry-level cashier positions.

Federal and State Labor Laws

In addition to corporate recommendations, Smoothie King franchises must comply with federal and state labor laws regarding minimum employment age. These laws provide additional guidelines that limit how young Smoothie King employees can be.

At the federal level, employees must be at least 14 years old to work in a non-hazardous job at a traditional restaurant like Smoothie King. However, many states also have higher minimum age standards, typically requiring employees to be at least 15 or 16 years old even for non-hazardous restaurant work.

For example, in Smoothie King’s home state of Louisiana, non-hazardous restaurant work requires employees to be at least 16 years old. States like Alabama, Alaska, and Idaho also share this 16 year old minimum. Other states may be higher or lower. But in general, state labor laws preventing employees under 15 or 16 make it very unlikely for Smoothie King locations to hire any younger.

Individual Franchise Hiring Policies

While corporate recommendations and labor laws provide broad hiring guidelines, individual Smoothie King franchises can ultimately develop their own minimum hiring ages within those parameters. However, most locations aim to follow corporate advice and labor laws as closely as possible.

For cashiers, corporate guidance suggests 16 years old as a minimum. With most states also requiring 16 for non-hazardous work, most franchises will follow this guideline. Hiring any younger would be rare and unlikely at a typical location.

For smoothie makers, the corporate guidance sets 18 as the minimum age. With hazardous duty restrictions, most states also align with 18 years old as the minimum for this role. Therefore, Smoothie King smoothie maker hires below 18 would be very unusual.

Finally, for shift leaders, the corporate guidance also suggests 18 as a minimum. This position’s oversight duties make locations especially likely to adhere to the recommended 18 year old minimum for hiring into this role across the franchise.

Exceptions Through Variance Permits

In a small number of cases, individual Smoothie King locations that want to hire employees under typical minimum age requirements may be able to apply for variance permits to do so legally under state law.

These permits would allow a specific location to hire someone younger than the typical authorized minimum age, usually 14-15 years old. However, the process involves strict approval criteria and paperwork filings with the state labor department.

Requirements may include proof of above-average academic performance for the underage hire, a limited number of weekly work hours, and documentation of tasks and equipment they would use to ensure adherence to any hazardous work restrictions.

Given the administrative work required, most Smoothie King franchises do not pursue variance permits. But in rare cases, it can allow a franchisee to hire 1-2 high-performing 14-15 year olds legally under specific state-approved circumstances.

Hiring for Younger Workers’ First Jobs

While restrictions limit the minimum age Smoothie King can hire employees, many locations actively recruit and hire teenagers and young adults seeking their first job. Smoothie King provides an appealing first work experience for the following reasons:

  • Entry-level positions like cashier have approachable job duties for beginners.
  • On-the-job training helps prepare first-time workers.
  • Advancement opportunities to smoothie maker or shift leader are available.
  • Working with food is an engaging experience for teens/young adults.
  • Social environment fosters relationships with coworkers.

Smoothie King franchisees cite the ability to positively impact first-time workers as one of the most rewarding parts of their business. Many locations actively recruit high school students nearing minimum age requirements to apply for their first jobs. While restrictions limit the absolute youngest hires, Smoothie King provides a valued early work experience for teens and young adults across the country.

Minimum Age to Work at Specific Smoothie King Locations

While corporate guidance, labor laws, and variance permits provide an overview of minimum hiring ages, specific employment minimums can vary between individual Smoothie King locations. To find the precise minimum age to work at a given franchise, it’s best to inquire with that specific location directly.

Each Smoothie King has an on-site hiring manager responsible for local recruiting and staffing. Job seekers can contact them to find out the exact minimum age for open positions at that franchise location. They can provide details based on their specific state/city labor laws, insurance policies, and any variance permits they may have obtained.

The hiring manager can also describe any positions they have open that a young job seeker may qualify for based on their age. They will have the most accurate, up-to-date information on that location’s minimum hiring requirements and opportunities for prospective candidates of all ages.

Minimum Age for Corporate Positions

For corporate positions at Smoothie King headquarters, hiring minimums follow standard professional standards rather than restaurant labor laws. As an office environment without food production duties, corporate roles are typically restricted to those 18 and above.

In particular, Smoothie King corporate outlines standard minimum age requirements as:

  • 18 years old for entry-level corporate office positions
  • 21 years old for corporate managerial positions

These corporate standards aim to ensure candidates have attained sufficient education and professional experience levels prior to hire. With job complexity beyond restaurant work, Smoothie King prefers to hire candidates with proven maturity, knowledge, skills and judgement for corporate office roles.

Key Takeaways

Although specific hiring ages vary between locations, Smoothie King’s recommended minimum employee ages include:

  • Cashiers: 16 years old
  • Smoothie Makers: 18 years old
  • Shift Leaders: 18 years old

Federal and state labor laws typically align with these recommendations, making under 15 or under 16 highly unlikely for hiring. Some limited exceptions can be made through variance permits. But in general, Smoothie King aims to provide a great first job experience for teens and young adults near minimum age levels.


Smoothie King locations prefer to hire teenagers and young adults seeking their first job experience. While child labor laws prohibit hiring employees under 14-16 years old in most cases, Smoothie King provides an engaging entry-level opportunity for mature, responsible individuals who meet minimum age requirements in their state. Interested young job seekers should contact their local Smoothie King hiring manager to learn if any positions are currently available to applicants at their age.

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