May 23, 2012 // Franchising.com // Nashville, TN - Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie opened their first locations inside of Walmart Tuesday, May 22. The franchised co-branded centers will open in three Nashville, Tenn.-area Walmarts—the Charlotte Pike Walmart (7044 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, Tenn.), the Smyrna Walmart (570 Enon Springs Road East, Smyrna, Tenn.) and the Lebanon Walmart (615 South Cumberland Street Lebanon, Tenn.). All three locations—which replace the old portrait studios—are immediately inside the grocery store entrance.
The Walmart locations are also some of the first co-branded Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie centers. Tasti D-Lite, the great-tasting, lower-calorie frozen dessert chain with a fanatical following among health-conscious consumers as well as celebrities, acquired Planet Smoothie, which serves real fruit smoothies with low calorie, low sugar and high protein options, last year.
The area developers for the Walmart locations are Scott Hughes and Benton Tatum, who have been granted nontraditional growth rights by Tasti D-Lite and Planet Smoothie. They currently own Tasti D-Lite locations on Duke University’s campus and on the Georgetown University Law Center campus with another location set to open in Baltimore Washington International Airport this summer. Hughes and Tatum plan to open an additional 20 Tasti D-Lite/Planet Smoothie centers inside of Walmart locations across the country this year and up to 100 across the country next year.
“I believe nontraditional units will be a focal point of franchising given the current economy,” Hughes said. “For quick-serve restaurant franchises, it is the most cost effective way to open and it comes with built-in traffic in an under-served market.”
The Tasti D-Lite/Planet Smoothie centers inside of Walmart will offer a discount to Walmart employees. They are also giving a 20 percent discount to anyone with a valid military ID on Mondays for “Military Mondays.”
“The military discount is a great way to honor the men and women serving our country,” Hughes said. “Nashville is a great military town and we wanted to make sure we gave back to the military in some way.”
“We chose Tasti D-Lite because of the excellent product and the top-notch management team,” Hughes said. “Combining the brands is a great opportunity for separate and consistent revenue streams. We are hopeful that the Walmart locations will be as successful as our college centers.”
Since its inception in 1987, Tasti D-Lite’s popularity has grown largely by word of mouth and has resulted in a huge base of raving fans who line up day and night to get their favorite guilt-free treat, available in more than 100 flavors. In 2008 the company launched its first franchise program. Since then, the company has grown to 60 locations across three countries and has already secured commitments to open more than 500 locations around the world in the coming years. In December 2011 Tasti D-Lite acquired Planet Smoothie which has more than 100 units in operation, mainly in Georgia and Florida. Over the coming months, Tasti D-Lite products will be added to select Planet Smoothie stores and likewise, Planet Smoothie menu offerings will be made available to Tasti D-Lite locations. The two brands are poised for growth throughout the U.S. and around the world with plans to build a global franchise network through a combination of single- and multi-unit franchises, area developers and international master franchises. For more information, visit www.tastidlite.com.
Courtney Thomas | Caitlin Varley