ATLANTA - July 22, 2014 - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Tropical Smoothie Café, with the backing of private equity firm BIP Capital, has launched a financing program to help existing franchisees open additional restaurants nationwide by providing up to $20 million in loans. The company has already approved more than $2.5 million through the program, signaling pent-up demand from franchisees. In June the first two cafes opened under the program, one in Melbourne, Florida, and the other in Syosset, New York.
"Our same-store sales and store openings continue to grow, which shows consumers love our brand," said Tropical Smoothie Café CEO Mike Rotondo. "This is a solution for our franchisees who want to expand their businesses but find it difficult to acquire loans through traditional means."
The Franchisee Financing Program provides qualified existing franchisees with loans to cover 80 percent of store development costs including franchise fees, equipment, signage, and other expenses related to opening.
Fueling the increasing interest from new prospects and existing franchisees is the continued increase in both same-store sales and new cafes. Last year, Tropical Smoothie Café opened 40 restaurants and reported a 6.4 percent increase in same-store sales. Through July of 2014 the 385-unit food-and-smoothie chain is reporting a 9.2 percent increase in same-store sales and expects to open 70 new locations by year end.
"These numbers blow away current industry standards demonstrating that Tropical Smoothie Café not only has great food and smoothies but is also a smart investment," said Scott Pressly, Chairman of Tropical Smoothie Café and Managing Partner at BIP Capital. "Consumers want real food and we deliver."
Franchisees Diane Schullstrom and Lance Albers were among the first to benefit from the new program. The pair received funding to develop a second Tropical Smoothie Café in Melbourne, Florida, which opened in June 2014. Without the loan, they would not have been able to expand because banks remain wary of lending to small businesses, says Schullstrom.
"Local demand for better-for-you food has been stronger than ever, so we have wanted to expand our presence to meet that need," said Schullstrom. "With the credit crunch, it wouldn’t have been realistic to count on a loan from traditional sources, which is why we’re thrilled BIP Franchise Finance approved our loan and understands the value in doing business with people you know."
To learn more about Tropical Smoothie Café, visit www.tropicalsmoothiefranchise.com.
Founded in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Café is a fast-casual restaurant concept whose franchise partners inspire healthy lifestyles in communities across the country. Catering to all day-parts, Tropical Smoothie Café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, including smoothies, salads, wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads and more. The fast-growing franchise has 385 locations in 39 states and has won numerous awards including: Entrepreneur 2014 Franchise 500; Nation’s Restaurant News 2013 Top 200; Tropical Smoothie Café is currently awarding franchises throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.TropicalSmoothieFranchise.com.