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How Juice It Up! pioneered the açaí bowl franchise category

We were the first to market with the superfruit açaí, and we continue to innovate today

Bowls are a big deal in the food world right now: poke bowls, rice bowls, salad bowls, burrito bowls, and smoothie bowls like açaí bowls and pitaya bowls are hotter than ever. In fact the Wall Street Journal recently declared, “bowls are the new plates.” For every bowl, there seems to be at least one corresponding franchise, and it’s no exception in our industry. But before you dive into a new-to-market açaí bowl franchise, you should know a few things about Juice It Up!

Our Orange County, CA-based franchise, which offers an array of juices, smoothies and bowls, was one of the earliest to offer healthy smoothie bowls on the menu. But we’re so much more than just a smoothie franchise, with a full menu of fresh-squeezed raw juices; handcrafted fruit and vegetable smoothies; superfruit smoothies and bowls; made with nutrient-rich açaí and pitaya; cold-pressed bottled juices; a variety of boosts and protein enhancers, as well as wheatgrass and ginger shots; and assorted grab-and-go snacks. We’ve been in business for over 20 years, much longer than most national fruit and smoothie chains, and we were the first company to introduce the superfruit açaí to the U.S. market.

A collection of three smoothie bowls made with açaí and pitaya and topped with fresh fruits, held against a backdrop of a Juice It Up! storefront.
The dark purple açaí berry that grows on a species of palm trees found in the Amazonian rainforest is believed to offer an array of health benefits, and its popularity has been growing steadily in the U.S. market for the past decade. It also happens to be delicious.

We recognized early on that the benefits from the little berry would be a huge hit with consumers who were passionate about living healthier lifestyles. Plus, it tasted great. Over 15 years ago we partnered with Sambazon, the global leader of açaí harvesting and distribution, to introduce the superfruit to juice and smoothie consumers.

After the success of our initial Açaí Bowl, we expanded the entire Açaí Bowl line. Next we introduced Pitaya Bowls with their neon-bright magenta color and healthy benefits, offering extended vitality into the bowl category with our mindfully assembled Instagram-worthy edible masterpieces. We continued to innovate the bowl category, and today guests can also transform their favorite Classic and Veggie Smoothie into a nourishing meal replacement. To supercharge any bowl, Juice It Up! offers a “Make it Green” option by blending in raw kale and spinach to add an extra dose of fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as the option of topping their bowl with a variety of over a dozen ingredients, further capitalizing on the customization trend that has been spreading through the restaurant industry.

The evolution of bowls

With the global smoothie market of $9.3 billion, there are now a handful of açaí bowl franchises out there — but none of them offer the expertise, support and resources that our franchisees rely on from Juice It Up! We’ve got the proven business model, the systems efficiency honed over decades in business, the brand name recognition in many parts of the country and the experienced franchise leadership team on our side.

It won’t be possible to match that at an açaí bowl franchise that only opened its doors in the last couple of years. We wish everyone success, of course, and frankly we welcome the competition — it just goes to show what a thriving industry we’re operating in. Right now, Juice It Up! is prepared to equip you with everything you need to start your franchise, and you’ll be facing little in the way of national franchise competition.

While other juice bars are hustling to catch up, or startups are coming in and focusing narrowly on açaí bowl franchising, Juice It Up! has been studying the market trends and has developed a bowl bar for our stores where guests can customize their own smoothie bowl creations. In fact, every smoothie on our menu can be transformed into a smoothie bowl, so it’s customary to ask our guests, “Straw or spoon?”

An Acai Bowl in front of a row of red juice, green juice and pink juice.
Smoothie bowl franchises focus so narrowly on a single product niche, like açaí bowls or smoothie bowls, they may be missing out on a broader consumer base.

Menu innovation and expansion

Açaí berries are celebrated as a superfood because they’re packed with antioxidants — even more so than cranberries, blueberries and strawberries, according to the Mayo Clinic — as well as fiber and heart-healthy fats. It’s been wildly popular in the U.S., and it’s likely to become a regular on any number of menus.

While some businesses are focusing just on açaí bowls, we like to offer those along with pitaya bowls and other smoothie bowls. Our menu items are carefully created and evaluated for maximum nutrition and flavor, and we continue to explore food market trends, try new flavors and look ahead to what our consumers might like to try next.

When something catches on, we use consumer feedback to determine whether it’s a healthy, craveable item worth a permanent place on our menu. We maintain our core menu favorites, but we are always looking for ways to broaden and innovate our offerings to keep our guests happy.

FONA International reported a 31% increase in bowled items on restaurant menus from 2010- 2016. Demand is only expected to rise for smoothie bowls, and we expect they’ll always have a place on our menu. We just don’t plan to limit ourselves to one product niche.

Five smoothie bowls are held in a circle, each topped with a different combination of fresh fruits, coconut, granola and nuts.
Juice It Up! continues to innovate with features like a bowl bar, which lets guests customize their smoothie bowls with any of a dozen healthy toppings.

Juice It Up! could be the right option for you

Our years of experience in this industry far outpace most other players in the açaí bowl franchise area. Our flexibility in product offerings and territory availability make Juice It Up! an even more attractive offering for buyers. If you would like to start a conversation about our franchise opportunities, please fill out the form on this page. We’ll send you a password for our Juice It Up! Franchise Information Center, where you can inspect our financial information, including average earnings and startup costs, read Q&As with longtime franchisees, review tutorials for first-time franchise buyers and more.