Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Grand Opening Sales 40% Above Average

Restaurant Marketing

We had a line to the door or out the door the rest of the day.

Kansas Cafe Owner

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

When I rounded the corner to the cafe at 6AM, I just about started crying when I saw a line all the way across the strip center. We had a line to the door or out the door the rest of the day.

Kansas Cafe Owner

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

One of the nation’s top 10 fastest growing restaurant chains had plans to double in three years, growing to 1,500 franchised locations. They chose Brandience to lead the charge for new store openings. We delivered grand opening sales 40% above average.

Digital, Social and Franchise Expertise

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant chain operating more than 1,000 locations across the country. Based on previous growth and franchisee feedback, they recognized the need to partner with a digital and social media marketing agency that could create a blueprint to successfully manage rapid growth.

As their first agency of record for Grand Openings, we quickly realized their efforts could benefit from greater strategy, discipline and accountability. Tropical Smoothie Cafe was already capturing an abundance of customer data which aligned well with our proven data-led process of introducing brands to new customers and ensuring that each new cafe opened with a bang.

Mining Rich Consumer Data

Before getting into individual grand openings, it’s important to understand the customer mindset as they are introduced to, and grow with, the restaurant brand. Using TSC’s rich customer data we created a customer journey map to identify key trial decision stages and give us a strong foundation to understand customers’ motivations and how best to engage with them as they move from stage to stage. This is especially important in new markets where awareness can be very low. And we had to rethink this journey due to COVID.

Fine Tuning for the Local Market

The next critical step is taking the data intel down to the individual cafe level. We examine things like customer prototyping, product mix, location data and sales trends. This helps us fine tune targets and choose the best products to feature in order to incent trial based on “look alike” markets. Then we engage with the franchisee to understand their specific challenges. From there, we develop a custom plan utilizing a portfolio of proven messaging and tactics that are optimized for the unique traits of the market.

Given the sheer number of Grand Openings, many cafes open in new or under-penetrated markets, with little or no brand awareness. While others benefit from strong brand awareness and market penetration. The plans can be quite different for established markets vs. new markets; experienced vs. new franchisees. And the competitive set can also impact the media mix and messaging. All of this leads to a customized plan built exclusively for the area surrounding the cafe which is the best recipe for creating trial-driving awareness to a new location.

A common mistake for any Grand Opening is focusing all energy and investment on a single day. Even with limited budgets, we ensure that our plans include pre-opening, soft opening, grand opening, and post.

Building Sustainable Success

The Strategy Works. Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s Grand Opening success is going strong. Since adopting our blueprint, most new stores are exceeding the system average. And half of recent Grand Openings have generated sales of +40% over average. Through continuous optimization, we expect results to continue to improve as new cafes come online.

Grand Opening Sales 40% Above Average


Brand Strategy
Data Analytics
Social Media