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Juice It Up! franchise review: Amar Patel of Chino, CA

Patel finds built-in customer base from day one thanks to brand recognition

portrait of Amar Patel
Amar Patel

The daily grind gets to all of us sooner or later, and when it got to Amar Patel, he didn’t waste a lot of time wondering what he should do about it. Patel is a seize-the-day kind of guy. He saw a Juice It Up! franchise for sale, realized what the opportunity meant, left his corporate day job and never looked back. That was several years ago, in 2009, and he couldn’t be happier about where he is today as the owner of the Chino, CA, location. This is the story of his journey.

What were you doing before Juice It Up?
Before I got involved with the Juice It Up! franchise, I was working at Citibank as an underwriting director.

What led you from working for a bank to becoming a franchise owner?
I think a couple of things. One, during my time at the bank, after several years of working in that kind of environment, you get kind of, I don’t know, I don’t want to say stressed out or fatigued after years of doing that kind of work, but I was getting to that point where I was getting tired of that grind. Also, I came across a Juice It Up! franchise that was available. It seemed like a really good opportunity. I think just seeing the brand, seeing the store in action, led me to make that change.

What was it about Juice It Up! in particular that appealed to you? Why Juice It Up! instead of another juice franchise?
The reason why I chose Juice It Up! over other juice franchises was the network of the franchise itself. It has a very strong presence here in Southern California. I like the model, the simplicity of the brand and the execution of the stores.

Had you ever owned a franchise before or had anybody in your family ever owned one before?
I’ve never owned a franchise before. I do have family members that own other franchise businesses outside of Juice It Up!

How did that family history influence your decision to buy a juice franchise as opposed to opening up an independent?
I think the family influence to go with the franchise-branded business and the juice industry was supportive. There are several benefits going with the franchise model versus going on your own as a mom-and-pop. First, just the R&D. You have someone doing that for you, someone initiating all the marketing efforts. You don’t have to worry about that as much in a franchise network. Plus, day one, you open your store, you have that immediate brand recognition. You have somewhat of a customer base on day one without having to do any work for it. You buy into that established presence, which I definitely liked.

How much time do you spend in your store?
I currently don’t spend that much time. When I first purchased the store, I was there almost six, seven days a week. As the store’s been established in the way I like to operate things, I’ve put assistant managers and managers in place to run the store the way I like it. I’m not really there as much. I’d say less than five hours a week I’m spending at the store physically.

Are you planning to add any more units?
I would like to add another Juice It Up! unit in the future. The way the model is going and just my experience at other franchises, I think this is a good franchise to expand with.

Juice It Up! employee making a smoothie

Why do you think Juice It Up! is a good company to grow with and what do you think distinguishes this brand from others?
I think Juice It Up! is a good franchise to grow with because it’s a fully developed model. There are a lot of other cool and trendy franchises that have popped up over the last several years, but after researching them and comparing it to my own experience here at Juice It Up!, I would say that they’re not fully explored and fully developed. With that I mean your labor costs, your food costs and even some of your administrative costs. With Juice It Up!, you know what you’re getting. You know what your numbers are and you know it’s a legitimate business that can easily work if you put the time and effort into it. Some of these other hot franchises, you get into them, and your cost structures are not where they need to be at in order for them to be a viable investment for you.

You mentioned you only spend five hours a week or so in the store. I’m assuming you’re spending a lot more time on the business itself and growing the business.
As far as spending time on the business, physically in the store, yeah, I’m in the five-hour-a-week range. I do more of the clerical stuff at home in my leisure time because I have the flexibility to do so. Again, part of the benefit of being with the Juice It Up! brand is a lot of these marketing initiatives are taken care of by the franchise. Obviously, I have my own responsibilities in our local market, so I do spend some time there, but again, as I become more experienced in operating this store and this brand, a lot of things become easier.

Do you have other business ventures, or do you just spend a lot of time with family?
I do have other business ventures, and I do have two small children at home, so both take a balanced amount of my time. Two young children definitely is a big challenge to have. That’s part of it. I have another business as well that does take a lot more of my time than Juice It Up! Luckily, the way the store has been operating in my tenure with that store, it hasn’t been an issue.

What’s your other business venture?
My other business venture is a build-your-own pizza concept called Project Pie. That’s kind of the new trend right now. As I’ve gotten into that business, I’ve learned very quickly that Juice It Up! is actually a really good business to operate versus this. This new one is a good business as well, but it definitely is a much more hands-on business. It takes a lot more of my time and energy than I had anticipated just because of my experience with Juice It Up! It’s definitely changed my thinking going forward with what brand I want to grow with.

What’s your favorite thing about being a Juice It Up! franchise owner?
I think my favorite thing about being a Juice It Up! franchise owner is the freedom it provides. I think most entrepreneurs who get into business, they all seek the same things. They want the independence. They want the freedom and ability to dictate how their days go. So far, with the Juice It Up! brand, that’s basically worked out perfectly for me. I’ve really been able to establish my store, and it runs the way I want. It does very well for me, and that’s basically what I enjoy the most about it.

Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?
Knowing what I know now about the Juice It Up! brand, I definitely would do it again. I wish I had done it sooner. I think the Juice It Up! brand is a really perfected model. The biggest thing is if you focus on it and just basically do what they tell you to do, the business will succeed. It will do well. Nowadays, there’s so many businesses out there that people are able to choose from. It’s really hard to find one that has truly been perfected and could work at a reasonable model.

As long as the guest is happy, you have a successful store. I think I’ve seen that across the board with other franchisees. The ones that are consistently committed to making sure the guests walk out with a smile on their face, those are the ones that always seem to do very well, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

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