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How Profitable is a Smoothie King Franchise? 2022 Costs & Profits

With 1,400 stores across the globe, Smoothie King is a strong and popular smoothie brand for franchisees that also benefit from a strong market growth and consumer trends. Beyond the hype, should you start a Smoothie King franchise?

With an investment cost of $688,108 on average, and annual sales of $573,269, Smoothie King doesn’t seem to be the best financial investment. Is this really true?

In this article we’re looking at the financials of Smoothie King franchises: how much it costs, how much profits you can earn and whether this is a good investment. Let’s find out!

Smoothie King franchise: key figures

Franchise fee$30,000
Royalty fee6.0%
Marketing fee6.0%
Investment (mid-point)$688,108
Average annual sales$573,269
Investment to sales ratio0.8x
Investment payback*8 years (mediocre)
Minimum net worth$300,000
Minimum liquid capital$100,000
* using 15% net profit margin

🔎 How does Smoothie King compare vs. other franchises? Check the ranking

Smoothie King: an introduction

Smoothie King is a privately held American smoothie company that offers nutritious smoothies made using organic veggies and whole fruits without adding colors, flavors, and artificial preservatives.

The company was founded in 1973 by Steve and Cindy Kuhnau but was later purchased by Wan Kim who was Smoothie King franchisee in South Korea. Today, the company operates in 1,400 locations globally with presence in the US, Grand Cayman, Korea, and Trinidad.

According to the official website of Smoothie King, the company is currently not expanding in international locations.

Smoothie King franchises: pros and cons

Owning a franchise comes with various advantages and disadvantages, and Smoothie King is no different.


  • They have a relatively low franchise fee of $30,000 compared to $50,000 for some similar franchises
  • They can help to get funding through SBA and other finance vendors
  • They have a strong brand recognition, and hence, it is relatively easy to succeed as most customers already know the brand


  • Royalty and marketing fees are high (12% total) vs. similar restaurant and coffee shop franchises
  • The franchisee must directly supervise operations full-time. The franchise store cannot be for passive income, and by extension, a franchisee cannot operate more than one franchise store
  • You will need to show you have $150,000 in liquid assets, a 700+ credit score and a minimum net worth of $350,000

How much does a Smoothie King franchise cost?

A Smoothie King franchise requires a total investment of $688,108 in the beginning, including the initial franchise fee of $30,000.

This number can vary depending on your situation (for example, the type of restaurant you open or its location). For example, you would invest 2x time for a free-standing drive-thru vs. an end-cap or in-line format.

Whilst in-line and end-cap stores are smaller units (often located in shopping malls, airports, etc.), free-standing drive-thru outlets are much bigger units with, logically, a much higher turnover.

Source: 2022 FDD

The investment amount includes:

  • Formation costs: franchise fee, initial training, technology systems, furniture, equipment, professional fees, signage, leasehold improvements, grand opening, etc.
  • Operating expenses: 3 months’ rent, insurance, start-up supplies & inventory, additional funds fort he first 3 months of operation, etc.

 Here’s a summary of the different costs you should pay for:

End-cap or in-lineFree-standing drive-thru
Initial franchise fee$25,000 – $30,000$25,000 – $30,000
Formation costs$17,501 – $73,500$35,501 – $79,500
Operating expenses$221,100 – $476,965$663,000 – $1,075,365
Total$263,601 – $580,465$723,501 – $1,184,865
Source: FDD 2022

How much can you make with a Smoothie King franchise?

On average, a Smoothie King franchise makes $573,269 in sales per year.

This number is the median net sales of 880 franchises operated in 2021. The average sales of the Smoothie King franchise have consistently grown over the years:

Source: FDD 2022

How profitable is a Smoothie King franchise?

If you want to know how much profits you can earn with a Smoothie King franchise, then you’re in luck! Smoothie King is one of the few franchisor who provides insightful details on the financial performance of its stores.

For example, COGS represents 27% of sales and labor costs 29% respectively.

On average, with annual sales of $573,269, you would earn around $484,275 in profits per year (22%). This number is an adjusted EBITDA and excludes any other costs not included in the table below.

Unfortunately, partly due to high COGS and royalty and marketing fees, higher than the industry average (25% and 7-10% respectively), the adjusted EBITDA margin is below competitors (22% vs. 26-29% for similar franchises).

Profit-and-lossAmount ($)As % of sales
COGS$(154,783)27% as per FDD
Labor$(166,248)29% as per FDD
Rent$(60,000)as per FDD
Royalty + marketing fees$(68,792)12.0%
Adjusted EBITDA$484,275~22%

Is a Smoothie King franchise a good investment?

In order to understand whether the profits are worth the costs, we need to look at the payback period: the time it takes for a franchisee to recoup their investment, using net profit (and not EBITDA).

As per our calculations, the payback period for a Smoothie King franchise is very long: 8 years…! That is much longer than the industry average (anything below 4 years is very good, 5 to 6 years is good/average and anything above 7 years is considered mediocre).

So we would argue that Smoothie King isn’t a great investment from a pure financial standpoint because of a mediocre 8 years payback period. Notwithstanding other factors discussed above (low investment cost, strong brand recognition, etc.).

Of course, keep in mind these numbers are based on the average of all Smoothie King stores, and your store may be more successful than the average. So in order to make a decision, make sure to look at all the different factors (your store location, your experience, etc.) and assess your store profitability by creating financial forecasts. Want help? Download our template below and get a clear picture of your payback period, ROI, breakeven and much more.

Download the Smoothie King business plan and get your franchise funded

Including a 5-year financial plan built with the latest Franchise Disclosure Document numbers

How does it compare vs. other franchises?

FranchiseInvestment ($)Sales ($)S/I RatioPayback (years)Min. net worth ($)Min. liquid capital ($)
Dunkin' Donuts,0001,056,5211.44.9500,000250,000
Krispy Kreme,0003,400,0004.11.62,000,000300,000
Little Caesars,022,850798,1130.88.5350,000150,000
Steak 'n Shake, Milshakes815,6261,346,3321.74.01,500,000500,000
Crumbl Cookies,2241,582,0903.12.1300,000150,000
Taco Bell,4131,650,0003.61.91,500,000750,000
Smoothie King,108573,2690.88.0300,000100,000
Jersey Mike's,3231,220,5862.14.7300,000100,000
Nothing Bundt Cakes,6501,307,2802.42.7600,000150,000
Jimmy John's,650874,8451.73.9300,00080,000
Texas Roadhouse,209,5002,955,5340.79.5n.a.200,000
Kung Fu Tea tea250,125353,2371.44.7n.a.25,000
Burger King,242,9501,215,9701.06.81,500,000500,000
Sonic Drive-In,467,0831,617,0001.16.01,000,000500,000
Panera Bread,290,5002,599,4321.15.97,500,0003,000,000
Pizza Hut,575906,9111.06.9700,000350,000
Dairy Queen Cream1,404,2201,143,1800.88.2750,000400,000
Jack in the Box,195,8001,755,5030.812.51,000,000250,000
Papa John’s,6951,101,1273.12.1750,000250,000
Five Guys,2251,203,3662.42.8500,000250,000
Carl’s Jr.,860,3351,419,5160.88.71,000,000500,000
Baskin-Robbins Cream465,100316,8150.79.8250,000125,000
Applebee’s American5,137,9662,356,9650.514.51,000,000500,000
Denny's American3,785,4591,639,5490.415.41,000,000500,000
Papa Murphy's,174580,4411.35.0275,000125,000
Auntie Anne's,692343,1351.55.6300,000100,000
Firehouse Subs,186888,3561.44.6350,000100,000
Tropical Smoothie Cafe,500961,9692.23.0350,000125,000
Marco’s Pizza,625895,5232.03.3400,000100,000
Cold Stone Creamery Cream310,956417,5881.35.0250,000100,000
Church’s Chicken,195,1471,395,0881.25.71,000,000300,000
Moe’s Southwest Grill,3701,013,3611.35.21,000,000100,000
Tim Hortons,242,7501,188,2401.07.0500,000100,000
Checkers & Rally's,8471,039,7731.25.4750,000250,000
Charleys Philly Steaks,806786,2331.54.3500,000100,000
Buffalo Wild Wings,546,9002,534,1480.79.31,500,000750,000
Rita's Ice Cream215,839248,3401.25.8300,000100,000
A&W Restaurants,750851,2121.16.2350,000150,000
Hungry Howie’s Pizza,682806,8991.93.5750,000200,000
McAlister’s Deli,424,9631,865,8611.35.11,000,000500,000
Round Table Pizza,2501,037,8161.35.0500,000200,000
Qdoba Mexican Eats,250972,9621.54.5
Taco John’s,119,0001,124,9801.06.61,000,000400,000
Scooter’s Coffee,143,250797,1010.79.6500,000200,000
Einstein Bros. Bagels,075885,0111.25.71,000,000536,500
Great American Cookies,275452,7711.25.7250,000100,000
Wienerschnitzel dogs873,300880,9801.06.6600,000250,000
Blaze Pizza,4501,096,4321.37.9500,000300,000
Wetzel's Pretzels,571748,8572.03.4300,00050,000
Pizza Ranch,268,3001,174,0880.418.61,000,000297,000
Del Taco,406,8501,345,3411.07.02,000,000500,000
Schlotzsky’s, Salads1,102,9331,053,3330.322.21,000,000300,000
Captain D’s,7781,067,8160.419.01,000,000350,000
Biggby Coffee,575648,3520.320.0300,000100,000
Which Wich,375281,8860.322.2500,000150,000
Marble Slab Creamery Cream407,360251,0520.416.7250,000100,000
Mountain Mike's Pizza,900865,7130.320.0300,000100,000
Huddle House,743712,4280.513.3600,000300,000
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue,350612,9210.333.3500,000150,000
Chicken Salad Chick, Salads651,0001,202,0200.320.0750,000250,000
Golden Chick,975917,6092.52.62,000,000425,000
Waba Grill,000466,5361.06.51,000,000250,000
Bruster’s Ice Cream Cream663,925466,6960.79.5375,000150,000