SOURCE: Robeks


April 16, 2013 10:52 ET

Robeks Smoothie Franchise Plans Expansion in Tampa Bay

TAMPA, FL--(Marketwired - Apr 16, 2013) - The nation's premium healthy smoothie and juice bar franchise, Robeks, plans to expand its footprint in the Tampa Bay region.

The smoothie franchise opened a store in Valrico before the housing downturn. Like everyone else in Tampa, the franchise battened down the hatches during the recession, focusing on operations and innovation. Robeks rolled out several new menu items, including new fresh-squeezed raw vegetable juices, smoothie bowls topped with crunchy granola and slices of banana and smoothies made with Greek yogurt. Robeks also recently revamped its menu, adding 20 new items and regrouping menu items into categories like "fan favorites," "nature's best" and "performance." The result has been a large spike in fresh juice sales and overall revenue.

Consumer hunger for healthy options has never been in doubt -- the smoothie industry saw its revenue nearly double to $2.4 billion from 2007 to 2011. Now spending is recovering overall. Gross sales in Tampa Bay have increased an average of 6.7% a year since March 2010, according to the Florida Department of Revenue; the unemployment rate is down about 2 points from a year ago, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; and housing prices were up 8.9% in January compared to a year ago, according to Standard & Poor's Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

With commercial rents still soft, now is a promising time to start a business, particularly one aligned with the nation's healthy dining trends, says Carol Cason, regional director for Robeks in the Tampa Bay area.

"People want better options for healthy places to eat, and Robeks is convenient and committed to nutrition," she says. "And if you've never had a smoothie made with real whole fruits and vegetables, you've never had a real smoothie. The difference between what we serve and what others serve... it might as well not even be in the same category."

Robeks offers a fast, convenient and tasty alternative to typical fast-food meals. The brand's focus on quality has helped it grow from its original location in Los Angeles to become a system with 108 stores, including two stores in Japan.

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