While Canadians are becoming increasingly health-conscious, they are also always on the go. When it comes to cramming a delicious bite to eat into the hectic schedules of busy Canadians, juice and yogurt often fits the bill.
Franchise systems in the juice and frozen yogurt sectors offer consumers a vast array of tasty treats, meal supplements, and more to provide Canadians with a healthier alternative to ice cream, and other high-fat desserts. When it comes to juice, more and more franchises are meeting consumer demand for healthy and convenient on-the-go options with 100 per cent fresh-squeezed juice and smoothie offerings aimed at facilitating a healthy lifestyle.
President & CEO Dale Wishewan opened his first juice and smoothie bar in Alberta in 1999, and within two years had grown Booster Juice to 50 locations. Today, there are almost 400 Booster Juice franchises serving nutritious smoothies, fresh juices, grilled food items, and grab n’ go products, both in Canada and internationally. Most are located in strip malls or power centers, but you’ll also find Booster Juice in shopping malls, office towers, airports, as well as on college and university campuses. “It’s a simple concept with not a lot of moving parts, and it doesn’t require a huge footprint,” says Franchising Manager Shelley Gable. “We have locations in all provinces and territories except Nunavut. We’d like to see more expansion in the Maritimes.”
Aside from offering a proven system with national brand awareness, the concept offers good work-life balance, requires minimal staff and equipment, and is supported by two-weeks of training for new franchisees, then ongoing training and assistance from dedicated Franchise Business Consultants.
The ideal franchisee has relevant education and business acumen, with strong sales, marketing and customer service skills, and experience in managing a team. “They don’t need to have QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) experience, but they do need to be business savvy, understand accounting principles, and understand the importance of following operation systems within the franchisor’s guidelines and standards,” says Gable. He or she should be entrenched in the local community and live nearby in order to easily oversee business operations and provide employees with guidance and support.
“Being a hands-on owner/operator ensures greater success for the business” says Gable. She advises, “Make sure that the concept you purchase is a concept you are passionate about. You must be comfortable getting out into the community to drive your business via sampling, charity involvement, sports events, and customer service.”
At times it is challenging serving frozen yogurt during Canadian winters, says Don Moore, President of Grinners Food Systems Ltd. Frozu! is one of the company’s franchise brands, along with Captain Submarine and Greco Pizza.
“We decided to concentrate on opening Frozu! as a clip-on unit to our existing brands. The first one opened inside a Captain Submarine in Truro, Nova Scotia in 2013, and we continue to focus on ‘clipping on’ to add better value to the overall performance of existing restaurants. As an add-on business, Frozu! is quite profitable.” It’s also a good fit as it tends to be busy at non-peak times for the pizza or submarine shop.
Although the space requirement for Frozu! is small (typically 400 square feet), setting it up is not a ‘cookie cutter’ undertaking, says Moore. “We retrofit the space that the owner is currently operating in and find a place that works, not just for Frozu!, but for the entire operation.”
Training, regular communication, and support are provided at every phase, he adds. “We assist with planning and construction, then are onsite for several weeks, and in the locations several times a year. Compared to a pizza or sub business, Frozu! is very uncomplicated to run. There are no phone-ins or deliveries, and the customers for the most part serve themselves.”
All Grinners brands are located in Atlantic Canada, usually in communities with a population of 8,000 or more. While there are no specifically targeted areas for expansion, Moore expects that new stores will continue to open in Eastern Canada. “We strongly focus on owner-operators who will work in their stores every day. Our ideal franchisees just have to be caring and hard working. If they have the right attitude, we can teach almost anyone our system and how to run a location successfully.”
Jugo Juice was ahead of the curve when it introduced healthy smoothies and fresh pressed juices to the Canadian market 20 years ago, says Kendall Pupp, Vice President of Jugo Juice Canada. “Max Veg was the very first drink we served, and it’s still on the menu.”
Since opening its first store in Calgary in 1998, Jugo Juice has since grown to over 130 locations, mainly in Western Canada. The company’s expansion plans are targeted primarily at Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.
“Our concept features convenient, healthy and delicious – the cleanest, most innovative and best tasting smoothies and fresh pressed juices, as well as sandwiches, wraps, and other unique food items that conform to our true health philosophy. A key feature is that everything we sell tastes amazing,” says Pupp. “We also innovate a lot. Our Mighty Kale was introduced in 2012 and has become the gold standard for kale smoothies. In 2018, we introduced a coffee/energy category, using ingredients like cold brewed coffee and matcha green tea.”
The company looks for owner/operators with a healthy active lifestyle who can balance the duties of operations, local marketing, and community involvement. With a structured four-week initial training program, regular store visits and consulting by regionally-based Operations Managers, local store marketing options, product education and train-the-trainer programs, the company provides the knowledge and tools required to be successful, says Pupp. “We believe that a hands-on approach is
the best way to grow the business.” Jugo Juice stores work in a range of locations, from malls, office buildings, airports and transportation hubs to campuses, recreational complexes, hospitals and store fronts in upscale, trendy neighbourhoods, says Pupp. “We seek out real estate and try to match opportunities with potential franchisees. We have a lot of flexibility, since we have a small footprint and don’t have kitchen ventilation or exhaust needs. We are looking to grow in unique ways.”
By Kym Wolfe