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Smoothies Are Top Banana in Any Weather

Stored under Caption This!GamesMiscellaneousNewsRecipesRelated EBay AuctionsReviewsVideosVisual Stimulation on December 6, 2007

You hear blenders churning ice in every major shopping center. Your gym offers vitality in tropical slush form. Instead of bacon double cheeseburger wrappers on the dashboard, you're seeing superwide straws.

And all the while, franchisors are seeing dollar signs.

"You can't have too many smoothies," says franchise consultant Dick Rennick. Increasingly mobile and health-conscious consumers are the willing targets of icy beverages marketed as guilt-free alternatives to Wendy's or fiber-rich substitutes for soft drinks.

The number of franchised units offering smoothies as their main products nearly doubled from 2002 to 2006, according to FRANdata, a franchise research firm. An ongoing stream of new companies that entered the industry during that time, such as Chicago-based Froots, plus continued development of established franchising systems, including Maui Wowi and Jamba Juice (JMBA - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr - Rating), are the main factors behind the rapid growth.

Yes you can make money in this crowded market, says Rennick, but the minute you blend in, you're slush. Constant innovation is a must, he cautions, and every franchise needs a shtick.

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