Are you interested in owning a healthy franchise business? A Tropical Smoothie Cafe (TSC LLC) could be the right franchise for you. With a wide variety of smoothies, wraps, sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a favorite among customers looking for a good-for-you meal or middle of the day pick me up.

In fact, all the franchise’s smoothies are handcrafted (rather than frozen) using select blend of fruits and vegetables. If you’re looking for a business motivated by health, nourishment, and encouraging an active lifestyle, the Tropical Smoothie Cafe could be an investment match.

How much will it cost to open a Tropical Smoothie Cafe? You’ll need approximately $296,500 – $661,500 to open a retail shop. You’ll also need liquid capital of $125,000 and a net-worth of $350,000 to qualify. This is a lot of money, but not as large of an investment as you would need to participate in other franchise opportunities like Burger King that requires a net worth of $1 million to be considered.

To help you understand the profitability and details of this this business navigate, we’ve included a table of contents to help you navigate to the section that interests you. Take our franchise quiz to find out if Tropical Smoothie Cafe is right for you. 

Financial Requirements and Fees

Here’s the financial requirements are for a prospective Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchisee. These numbers only give you a general idea of what you need to start a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise and may not include the all additional startup costs.

Fees/ Expenses Amount Needed
Liquid Capital $125,000
Net Worth $350,000
Total Investment $296,500 – $661,500
Franchise Fee $30,000

Here is a more detailed breakdown of costs and fees required to open the franchise:

Fee Low-End Costs High-End Costs
Initial Investment $296,500 $661,500
Professional Fees $5,000 $26,000
Grand Opening Contribution $5,000 $10,000

It’s important to note these the initial costs you’ll need to get your business started. There may also be additional fees that are not accounted for in these numbers that depend on the location or type of store you want to open.

Fortunately, opening a Tropical Smoothie Cafe is generally less expensive than opening a larger franchise. This could leave you with more financial capital to invest in important aspects of your business that will help you flourish like furniture, advertising, and high-speed WiFi service, to name a few. 

Here’s a breakdown of the ongoing fees and costs required to own a Tropical Smoothie Cafe:

Type of Fee Amount
Continuing Franchise Fee (royalty) 6%
Continuing Advertising Fee 3-4%
Franchise Fee $15,000 – $30,000
Leasehold Improvements $150,000 – $288,500
Signage $5,000 – $22,000
Initial Inventory $3,000 – $18,500
Initial Training Expenses $1,000 – $18,500
Initial Deposits $1,000 – $22,500
Additional Funds (Working Capital) – 3 to 6 months $6,000 – $59,000

Average Sales / Revenue per Year

As of 2022, Tropical Smoothie has reached $1,075,499,934 in Global Sales. They saw a 13.4% in sales growth from their previous sales of $948 million in 2021.

While there’s no assurance that you’ll reach this amount in gross sales, it is reassuring to know that many outlets accomplish this financial success. Since Tropical Smoothie Cafe is still a smaller company, there is more room for growth in the United States.

Franchise Facts

Total Units 1,197
Incorporated Name: Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC
Franchising since: 1997
Industry: Food Services
Subsector: Restaurants

How Much Profit Does the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise Make Per Year?

The salaries of the franchises’ business owners and managers remain unknown, yet estimated guesses can be made by observing similar franchises. A Tropical Smoothie Cafe manager likely makes around $40,000 – $42,000 per year depending on outlet location. 

Things To Consider

Type of Franchise

There are two types of outlets you can choose from: outlets with drive-thrus and those without. Choosing between the two depends on the location of your franchise and whether or not you are in a high-foot traffic location.

If your cafe is located in a rural area next to a highway, for example, you may find that a drive-thru increases the likelihood of sales from passing drivers. If your cafe is in an already highly populated and visited area (for example; a mall) there may not be a need for a drive-thru.

In general, you can expect sales volume to increase by adding a drive-thru window to your location. It increases the convenience and can boost sales by $800,000 or more annually according to some studies.

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC heralds over 900 locations worldwide. The benefit to having so many locations is that the TSC franchise is a recognized name among many health-food customers. In searching for a possible outlet location, TSC employees an in-house Real Estate Team to assist you while you search for the best location.

In addition, a network of local brokers will help you figure out what location will be most beneficial for foot-traffic and sales volume. As a beginner, this is a helpful feature of Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC. 


One unfortunate fact about owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe outlet is that TSC LLC does not guarantee any financial loaning, financial aid, or any future obligations of financial assistance. There is, however, a catch – TSC LLC provides a lowered initial franchise fee for veterans. The fee, which is originally $30,000, may go down to $15,000 for the first franchised business a veteran owns. For those looking to start a franchise, but who do not have enough capital for it, this program can be helpful if you meet the criteria. 

Advantages of Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise

One of the many advantages of owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe is the in-depth training managers, owners, and employees go through. After you pay the training fee, you will be able to access the TSC LLC systems, technology, operational support, and Internet services. In addition to these technological resources, you will attend a four-week training program near one of the TSC outlets. This training will include experience in the franchise, learning the ins and outs of the menu and business model, as well as marketing techniques.

Next, you’ll graduate to a one-week classroom training at the Support Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and continue on to a ten-day onsite training at your very own franchise. If you’re surprised by the sheer volume of training days, do not be alarmed – this is TSC LLC’s way of supporting you to the utmost degree in making running your business easier than ever.

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In fact, you won’t even need to handle the menu creation and marketing support – TSC LLC will do that for you. In addition to hands-on help from TSC employees, the company will make sure that your equipment is easy-to-use. Deep fryers, hooding systems, and stoves will be installed without complicated fixtures – making it easier to focus on preparing fresh food in a timely manner. 

fresh smoothie

A fresh berry smoothie.

As the business owner, you have options to support your continued business education. You may add two more weeks of training, attend other programs and seminars, or visit a training convention. Be aware that business owners and designated managers are required to attend all continuing education and training programs as well as meetings, conventions, seminars, and conference calls. The company provides all the necessary tools you need, but also keep in mind that this position is an interactive one and requires active learning and application.

One final advantage to owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise is the swift approval process. To be a franchise owner, you are only required to complete a four-page document, financial, and background check. Rather than waiting months and months for approval (an experience faced in other big brand franchises), TSC LLC quickly decides whether or not you are an ideal candidate. Approval submission is free and non-binding – it simply gives them more information about your capabilities, goals, and management style. For those struggling to acquire franchises in other fast food restaurants, this is an extremely simplified process that can help you get your business up and running in no time. 

Main Advantages

  • In-depth training makes it easier for you to focus on your business rather than worry about whether or not you will succeed.
  • Many options of continuing education via seminars, conference calls, or meetings.
  • Hands-on aid from TSC LLC employees in helping you install your kitchen.
  • Swift and no-cost approval process.

Challenges of Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise

Unfortunately, Tropical Smoothie Cafe LLC does not offer financial assistance or any future promise of financial aid. This fact may put a damper on your excitement, however, it is important to remember that opening a TSC outlet is actually less expensive than many other big brand franchises. Since it is relatively smaller than most fast-food restaurants, the franchise and starting fee for Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a bit lower than others. 

The franchiser requires a 15-year contract agreement to be signed before opening your first outlet. This means that you are committed to Tropical Smoothie Cafe for well over a decade. Although this agreement may seem lofty, your outlet will surely succeed with the help of ongoing business training from the TSC headquarters. This ensures commitment to the company but can be binding for those who find that this is not for them. 

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An additional challenge is the immense time commitment needed for initial business training. Training of about three-four weeks on-site and at the Support Center in Georgia make this on-boarding process long and grueling. After these weeks of classroom and on-site education, an additional ten days will be spent at your outlet location for further learning. None of this training is paid for, however, entering your opening day armed with business knowledge will help you succeed even more than before.

Another challenge specific to Tropical Smoothie Cafe is that it is still a relatively small chain. Unlike most other fast-food restaurants that have a large following, many people may still be unfamiliar with Tropical Smoothie Cafe. This may require you to do more in-depth advertising and marketing to ensure that you are attracting customers to your stores. However, there have been talks about Tropical Smoothie being up for sale for $2 Billion. Though this isn’t confirmed, if a sale does push through then this might just be Tropical Smoothie’s chance to merge with a bigger company which could also help boost their name.

Main Challenges

  • No financial aid offered from TSC LLC.
  • Long-term business commitment
  • Heavy time commitment necessary for initial business training
  • A smaller company may require more marketing

Is the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise Right for You?

In order to decide if owning a Tropical Smoothie Cafe outlet is right for you, ask yourself the following:

Are you aware of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand culture and business model? Ideal candidates will have years of experience in eating at Tropical Smoothie Cafe and know the ins and outs of the menu. 

Do you have business management experience? Foodservice management experience is not necessary, but a thorough background in business management is vital in ensuring long-term success. Remember this is a 15-year business agreement and you want to make sure you have the knowledge to keep your franchise successful. 

Related Reading: How Much Does It Really Cost to Open a Chick-fil-A Franchise?

Do you have the financial capital necessary to invest in a franchise? Thankfully, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is not as expensive to franchise as other big brand franchisers. It is, however, still a hefty financial investment. Be sure that you have a minimum net worth of $350,000 and $125,000 in liquid assets. 

All of this information may look daunting, yet investing in a franchise will benefit you in the long-run. Be sure to ask yourself the previous questions and look at what you can bring to the table as a franchisee. With your new knowledge of Tropical Smoothie Cafe business ownership, you may find that the nutritious health food restaurant fits your wildest dreams. Always be sure to take careful consideration before making your choice.