Tropical Smoothie Cafe Gains New Owner

Blackstone aims to accelerate the fast-casual brand’s already-rapid expansion.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe Double Drive Thru 1200x800 1
Photo courtesy of Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which started out on a Florida beach in 1997 and now has 1,400-plus stores, has a new owner in Blackstone.

Blackstone announced April 24 it entered into an agreement to acquire the fast-casual brand from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Blackstone says it intends to help accelerate the brand’s expansion through continued investment in menu innovation, operating excellence and best-in-class marketing.

“Tropical Smoothie Cafe has had an impressive growth trajectory consistently building on its loyal customer base as it has scaled nationwide,” says Peter Wallace, a senior managing director in Blackstone’s Private Equity business, in a statement. “Blackstone has deep experience helping accelerate the expansion of leading franchise businesses as one of our highest-conviction investment areas. We believe our capital and resources will help position Tropical Smoothie Cafe for continued success and innovation for the benefit of its guests and franchisees.”

Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, says, “The key to this business is delivering an outstanding experience for each guest who walks through our doors. From high-quality products to exceptional guest service, our franchisees make our mission to become a beloved brand a reality day in and day out, and we are thrilled to see how the brand will continue to grow with Blackstone’s outstanding global resources behind it.”

Technomic pointed to Tropical Smoothie Cafe last week as part of its 2024 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report coverage, noting it had experienced double-digit sales growth. The brand opened more than 175 new locations in 2023, 70% of which were opened by existing franchisees.


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