In the third year of an ongoing turnaround plan, the parent to the Jamba Juice smoothie chain said Wednesday that 2013 would be a year of “transformational growth,” with the addition of freshly squeezed juices in more units and a new limited-menu Smoothie Station format.
Jamba Juice Co. chair, president and chief executive James White unveiled its BLEND 3.0 plan Wednesday, the next phase of turnaround efforts that have brought the 774-unit chain positive sales. For fiscal 2012, the company said it expects same-store sales to increase between 4 percent and 6 percent, and White has predicted the chain would see its first year of profitability in six years.
In an interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, White outlined how the company has been working to turn Jamba Juice into a more healthful, active-lifestyle brand, with a multichannel effort to reach consumers where they are: in schools, hospitals and even grocery aisles. This year, for example, the company plans to grow a new limited-service format called Smoothie Stations, mini Jamba Juice units that can be dropped into a 100- to 200-square-foot space.
Smoothie Stations, which are manned by a small team, will offer primarily handcrafted smoothies in college campuses, hospitals and other nontraditional locations. The simplified format will also appeal to franchisees looking for new opportunities, White said.
After testing “a handful” in several markets in 2012, White said Jamba Juice plans to add up to 100 Smoothie Stations this year.
Self-service JambaGO outlets are also growing. The company has been placing them in K-12 schools and other nontraditional sites over the past two years. More than 400 JambaGO sites are open, and the company plans to add up to 1,000 this year.
White said the company’s diverse format options and “better-for-you solutions” are advantages that will make the Jamba Juice brand even more attractive to foodservice contractors in a variety of settings. In addition, the chain plans to add 60 to 80 traditional stores, both domestically and internationally, White said, including some with drive-thru locations where possible.
Meanwhile, the chain also plans to invest in refreshing 75 to 100 corporate locations that will be fitted with expanded offerings of freshly squeezed juices and handcrafted blends that feature superfood ingredients like kale, ginger, beets, carrots and apples.
The company has tested the expanded juice bar format in two locations, one in the chain’s hometown of Emeryville, Calif., and the other in Santa Monica, Calif. White said early results have been “incredible,” in some cases doubling sales with no marketing at all.
In addition to the units scheduled for the refresh, the juice bars will be added to new units as supply becomes available. “If we like what we see, we could accelerate that,” White said.
Meanwhile, the company plans to amp up its consumer packaged goods, or CPG, lineup with the goal of reaching $4 million to $5 million in revenues in fiscal 2013. White said the company reached its 2012 goal of $3 million in CPG sales, including items like an at-home smoothie kits, energy drinks and frozen novelties.
White is expected to outline the Blend 3.0 plan at the ICR Xchange investor conference in Miami on Thursday.