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This Popular Smoothie Chain Is Bigger Than Jamba Juice and Growing Fast

This is the new top dog of smoothies.
FACT CHECKED BY Mura Dominko

Jamba Juice may be the name most synonymous with "healthy" fast food and smoothies on the go. After all, the chain has just over 720 locations throughout the United States, with a stronghold in the state that championed the juicing and smoothie trend: California.

On the other hand, Jamba Juice's competitor Tropical Smoothie Café has only a smattering of locations throughout California and the other West Coast states. But don't read into that disparity, because when you look at the numbers nationwide, Tropical Smoothie Café is by far the larger chain, and one that is growing at a rapid rate.

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In an interview with Mashed, the CEO of Tropical Smoothie Café, Charles Watson, said that the company, which operates on a franchise basis, is slated to open its 1,000th location this year. And that growth comes on the heels of a surprisingly good last year for the smoothie giant, despite the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think we did a very nice job during 2020," Watson said. "We opened 99 new restaurants. So just one shy of 100. Nobody knew what was going to happen."

And Watson has nothing but confidence that the growth will continue. "Our goal is to get to 1,500 cafes by 2024. I think we're well on our way—this is a brand that you're going to be hearing a lot more about."

The Tropical Smoothie brand is currently present in 44 states and plans to be in all 50 before long. Existing Tropical Smoothie Café locations have seen a sales increase, with same-store revenues up almost 30% compared to last year, according to Watson, and more tellingly, up 7.5% over the pre-pandemic year 2019.

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Steven John
Steven John is a freelancer writer for Eat This, Not That! based just outside New York City. Read more