Jamba Juice is a popular smoothie and juice bar franchise with over 800 locations across the United States. The company was founded in 1990 in San Luis Obispo, California by Kirk Perron. Jamba Juice rose to prominence by offering customized blended fruit and vegetable drinks and by expanding rapidly in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Jamba Juice is currently owned by Focus Brands, a multi-brand franchising company that owns other chains like Cinnabon and Carvel Ice Cream. Focus Brands acquired Jamba Juice in 2018 for $200 million.
The Founding and Early Years of Jamba Juice
Jamba Juice was founded in 1990 by Kirk Perron, an avid cyclist who wanted to create healthy energy drinks. He opened the first Jamba Juice store in San Luis Obispo, California in 1990. The original menu focused on blended fruit and vegetable smoothies.
In the early 1990s, Jamba Juice began franchising and rapidly expanded across California. By 1995, there were over 50 Jamba Juice locations. The company expanded outside of California for the first time in 1996 by opening a store in Arizona.
In 1999, Jamba Juice was acquired by Services Acquisition Corp International for $265 million. This deal enabled Jamba Juice to accelerate its national expansion. By 2003, there were over 500 Jamba Juice locations across the country.
Rapid Growth in the 2000s
Jamba Juice continued its fast expansion throughout the 2000s. In 2006, the company was acquired by an investor group led by Steven Berrard, a former executive at Blockbuster Inc. Under new management, Jamba Juice focused on opening more company-owned stores, rather than franchises. By 2009, there were over 700 Jamba Juice locations, making it one of the largest smoothie chains.
In 2008, Jamba Juice had successful IPO, raising over $200 million on the NASDAQ exchange. This helped fund even more growth. International expansion also began during this period, with Jamba Juice opening locations in Canada, the Philippines, and South Korea. Though smoothies and juices remained the core of Jamba Juice’s menu, they diversified offerings to include oatmeal bowls, sandwiches, and other foods.
Acquisition by Roark Capital Group
In 2013, Jamba Juice was acquired by private equity firm Roark Capital Group for $265 million. Roark Capital owns many other restaurants chains including Arby’s and Cinnabon.
Under Roark Capital’s ownership, Jamba Juice continued expanding globally but closed underperforming U.S. locations. By 2016, there were about 800 Jamba Juice stores worldwide. However, same-store sales were stagnant, only growing 0.7% in 2015 and then declining 2% in 2016.
Focus Brands Buys Jamba Juice
In 2018, Roark Capital sold Jamba Juice to franchise company Focus Brands for $200 million. Focus Brands is based in Atlanta, Georgia and owns over 6,000 restaurant locations. Some of their other brands include Cinnabon, Schlotzsky’s, McAlister’s Deli, and Auntie Anne’s.
Focus Brands sees significant potential in growing Jamba Juice, especially internationally. Only about 2% of Jamba Juice locations are currently overseas. Focus aims to expand Jamba Juice in Asia and the Middle East. They also hope to reverse sales declines in existing U.S. stores through updated menu offerings and branding.
Today, there are over 800 Jamba Juice stores globally. About 97% of locations are in the United States. Below is a breakdown of how many stores are operated as franchises versus company-owned:
|Number of Locations
Geographically, California still has the most Jamba Juice locations of any state, accounting for nearly 200 stores. Texas, Arizona, and Florida also have a significant Jamba Juice presence. Outside of the United States, there are Jamba Juice stores located in South Korea, the Philippines, Canada, and the Bahamas.
Jamba Juice employs over 25,000 people. The company is led by CEO Geoff Henry, who has been with Jamba Juice since 2013. Their headquarters is located in Frisco, Texas.
Jamba Juice Products
Jamba Juice is best known for selling made-to-order smoothies, juices, and bowls. Some of their most popular smoothie flavors include Strawberry Whirl, Mango-A-Go-Go, and Orange Dream Machine. Their bowl menu features options like acai bowls, oatmeal bowls, and smoothie bowls.
Here are some other key products that Jamba Juice sells:
- All Fruit Smoothies – Made with real fruit and juice, no artificial flavors
- Vegetable Smoothies – Blends of fruits and vegetables to provide vitamins
- Protein Smoothies – Smoothies with added whey protein or soy protein
- Organic Juices – Cold pressed juices made with organic vegetables and fruits
- Sandwiches & Wraps – Sandwiches with chicken, turkey, or veggies on bakery bread
- Flatbreads – Pizzas and flatbreads made with multigrain or wheat crusts
- Oatmeal & Parfaits – Hot oatmeal bowls topped with fruits and nuts
Jamba Juice regularly introduces new seasonal blends and products to keep the menu fresh and interesting for customers.
Jamba Juice Customer Information
Jamba Juice targets health-conscious individuals interested in fruit smoothies and juices. Their core demographic skews female between the ages of 18 to 44. People who follow vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diets are also a significant portion of Jamba Juice’s customer base.
The average Jamba Juice customer visits a store 2-3 times per month and spends around $8-$12 per visit. They have over 1 million MyJamba Rewards loyalty members who receive discounts and free menu items for frequent visits.
College students are an important demographic, as many Jamba Juice locations are situated near university campuses. Juice cleanses and “healthy living” campaigns also attract customers trying to get in shape or improve their diets.
Jamba Juice’s Marketing
Jamba Juice uses a variety of media channels to promote their brand. Social media is a critical part of their marketing mix.
Here are some of the ways Jamba Juice reaches customers:
- Television: Jamba Juice airs commercials on national TV and cable channels. Recent ads have partnered with celebrities like Venus Williams.
- Email: Jamba Juice leverages email marketing to connect with loyalty members and customers who have opted-in to emails.
- Social Media: Jamba Juice has over 1 million Facebook followers and large presences on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. They share recipes, nutrition tips, and product announcements.
- Influencers: Jamba Juice works with social media influencers, athletes, and celebrities to promote products through sponsored content.
- Mobile App: The Jamba app allows customers to order ahead for pick up, pay, and earn loyalty rewards.
Jamba Juice positions itself as young, energetic brand focused on supporting an active, health-conscious lifestyle. Their messaging often highlights the convenience of grabbing a nutritious smoothie or juice on-the-go.
Jamba Juice’s Competitors
The smoothie and juice bar industry has high competition. Jamba Juice’s main competitors include:
- Smoothie King: Smoothie King has over 900 locations globally. It was founded in 1973 and offers similar smoothies and supplements as Jamba Juice.
- Tropical Smoothie Café: This Florida-based chain has over 900 cafes nationwide. It offers tropical-themed smoothies and food options.
- Robeks: Founded in 1996, Robeks has around 100 stores specializing in fruit smoothies, juices, andhealth foods.
- Planet Smoothie: Planet Smoothie has around 150 stores, mostly on the East Coast of the U.S. It’s known for low-fat smoothies and protein options.
Smaller regional smoothie chains also take business away from individual Jamba Juice locations. Jamba Juice tries to differentiate itself by emphasizing its long history in smoothies and healthier ingredients.
Challenges Facing Jamba Juice
While Jamba Juice grew extremely quickly, it has faced challenges in recent years. Issues include:
- Falling same-store sales as the smoothie trend has peaked.
- High competition from new health food restaurants and juice bars.
- Maintaining an innovative, relevant menu as consumer preferences evolve.
- Improving technology offers like mobile ordering and rewards programs.
- Reaching new demographics outside of the core health-conscious customer base.
Focus Brands, the new parent company, hopes to spark a Jamba Juice turnaround by updating its branding, expanding internationally, and rolling out modern conveniences like online ordering and delivery.
The Future of Jamba Juice
Jamba Juice aims to remain a top player in the smoothie and juice category it helped pioneer. Plans for the future include:
- Opening more international locations, especially in Asia.
- Developing innovative ingredients and recipes to keep their menu fresh.
- Catering to consumer trends like plant-based diets and microbiome health.
- Investing in digital technology to improve customer convenience and access.
- Revamping their brand image to emphasize healthy, energetic living for today’s wellness-focused consumer.
While facing challenges, Jamba Juice still benefits from strong brand awareness and a loyal customer base after three decades. Their commitment to evolving with consumer preferences will determine if Jamba Juice can boost sales and succeed under new ownership.
Jamba Juice has gone through several ownerships changes since its founding in 1990. After rapid expansion as a private and public company, Jamba Juice was acquired by investment firms Roark Capital and then Focus Brands. Focus Brands currently owns Jamba Juice and is focused on revitalizing sales by updating its menu and brand image. While facing competition, Jamba Juice is still one of the most well-known smoothie chains with loyal customers across America and select international markets. The company is betting on international growth, menu innovation, and improved technology to cement itself as a leader in the juice and smoothie category going forward.