“Just like anything in the retail food business, it’s always about the location,” says Jimmer Bolden, Robeks’ franchise development director. “We have found that the attributes that work well for selling smoothies aren’t always the same things that work for other food concepts. When smoothies were first catching on in the 1990s, the thought early on was that if you can put food in a spot, you could put smoothies there. That’s not necessarily the case.”
Robeks knows that, as a lifestyle brand, it’s especially important to be in a spot that health-conscious consumers frequently visit — so being near a cluster of other health-oriented businesses can boost sales.
“We created a site model about a year-and-a-half ago to determine how different locations affect the success of Robeks franchisees,” Bolden says. “We can now use a prediction model to gauge how likely a store is to succeed. On top of that, there’s on-the-ground analysis” — a visit and assessment from a site selection professional.
Bolden has site selection experience stretching back nearly 20 years. During Blockbuster video’s heyday, Bolden helped the company secure hundreds of prime retail locations. Bolden or an area representative works with local commercial real estate companies to help franchisees find ideal sites.
A few of the things they look for:
• Visibility: “For first-time customers, many times it’s an impulse buy — but after they taste a Robeks smoothie, that impulse customer becomes a core customer,” Bolden says.
• Daytime traffic: “It’s important to have high daytime traffic, and ideally there should be a good mix of retail, office and residential,” Bolden said. The retail-office-residential mix helps keep customers flowing into the store throughout the day.
• Health-oriented businesses: Gym members and yoga practitioners are devoted to proper nutrition and tend to be regular customers of and evangelists for Robeks — so it’s great to have them nearby. Subway, too, makes a good neighbor, because it draws customers who are focused on weight loss. If one meal a day is a 6-inch turkey sub and the other is a nutrition-packed Robeks premium fruit smoothie, it gives dieters some welcome variety.
To learn more about opening a Robeks franchise, download our free franchise report at the upper right.