Juice It Up! franchisee review: Rasna Arora of Santa Clarita, CA
From corporate worker to being her own boss, Arora finds satisfaction in helping others live healthy lifestyles
Rasna Arora isn’t about to give up her coffee anytime soon, but the owner of two Juice It Up! franchises, in Santa Clarita and Thousand Oaks, CA, can tell you one thing: You can get just as energized after a juice as after a coffee. She can tell you something else, too: “Juicing brings happiness. I mean it, because you’ll find that after you drink a juice, you’ll have the energy same as if you drink a coffee. You’ll be jumping around with the energy of a small baby, but without the caffeine. It’s natural, and it just gives you the positivity and the energy you need for the day.” Juice It Up! also gave her the energy she needed for a career change after several years in a corporate job. She’s been a franchisee since 2013, and she’s never looked back. This is her story.
Q: When did you become a Juice It Up! franchisee?
I started the process of becoming a Juice It Up! Franchisee in November of 2013. The process of buying out an existing Juice It Up! took about six months.
Q: What was it that attracted you to Juice It Up?
Me and my husband were actually looking to invest in a business. I had worked in corporate for seven or eight years. I was wanting to move into my own business. We came across this location. My husband is an accountant and the numbers matter, so we started doing the research. My husband, he’s a guy for a P&L. However, I’m more about what kind of product we’re going to sell.
There’s Subway, there’s other fast food chains that you could invest in that will possibly give you great ROI, but what do you resonate with? When I started reading about Juice It Up! and I went into one of the stores and tried their product, it was actually different than our competitors’. I love the juices. Amazing, amazing. I was like, okay. This is it.
Q: What’s the leadership like?
When I came to Juice It Up! corporate and I met the leadership here, it was just amazing. It was great to be associated with a brand that knows how to evolve. They were smoothie-centric, and now they’re juice-centric. The whole world is going gaga about juices, and I think this is where my passion lies is eating healthy, and what they offer is very transparent in terms of nutrients. What we display is what we offer. I’ve actually given a tour to many customers who want to see how transparent we are in our store. It’s amazing. It’s clean. They can get to know, oh, this is what our ingredients are, and this is how nicely and cleanly they’re kept. It makes them happy and brings them back to my store a lot.
Q: What does it take to win on the store level? Where should somebody be investing their time for the biggest payout?
Until you know your product, what you’re selling, you should be in your store a lot. I would say at least 40 hours of your time in a week in the beginning to understand what you do, how you do it and how you can actually run the business. This business seeks help from employees who are aged on average between 18 to 22. Those kids that are going to college, this seems to be a nicer option for them. It’s a flexible option and it’s also a fun environment for them to work. To be a mentor to those kids, because this is a stepping stone towards their life, we also have to teach them how to carry on this line of business. The more you understand your product and believe in the brand value of it, the easier it becomes to explain it to your employees who are selling your product to the customers, which is our end motive: to get customers, make them happy, sell our product and give them a healthy option to live a healthy lifestyle.
Q: How does Juice It Up! stand out in the marketplace?
In today’s world, everyone is selling smoothies. A lot of pressed juiceries have come up. There are a lot of juice franchises. Everyone’s trying to capture the customers. The winner is the one who offers a good product at a good price with great customer service. I believe there’s vibrancy when you walk into a Juice It Up! store; you see happy faces, you see energy and you have a product which is for real. It’s not stale. It doesn’t have a long shelf life. It’s made in front of you. It’s made of ingredients that are healthy. I’m a parent, and I would appreciate my daughter having something which is healthier than an option that will satisfy her carb cravings but is not really good for her body.
We live in California, where people are conscious of what they eat. People want to look great, but also they want to be healthy. A long time ago, my mom told me, you know how we go pray in temple and it’s so pious and just spiritual? If we treat our body the same way, it will elevate you to a much healthier level. Yes, we have a longer life these days, which is dependent on medical science and its wonders, but if there can be an option to have a lifestyle that can help us achieve that goal without the medicines, then why not? That’s the question.
Q: What do you like most about being a Juice It Up! franchise owner?
As much as I like doing customer service, it’s amazing to manage a team of employees. Between two stores I have about 25 employees, and they’re young. Just being their guide and a mentor, it’s amazing. I enjoy it.
Sometimes we run a healthy competition. We should be eating less carbs, more protein, going on a juice diet. We enjoy holding those contests amongst ourselves.
Other than that, all these years of having a business has given me an opportunity to know different personalities, both working with the kids and the customers. There are things that make them happy. There are things that make them not so happy. They’ll sometimes be mad and upset if we made a drink even slightly wrong, but the best part is, when we smile, we apologize and we say, “Can we make this for you again, or can we offer to you something else?” they calm down and then they’re fine, and then they come back. I think that’s something which brings the essence of this business.
Q: What kind of person do you think would make a good Juice It Up! Franchisee? What kind of skill sets are important?
Energy, honesty, motivation and a never-give-up spirit.
This business involves a lot of hard work. As much as it’s fun, it’s very detail-oriented. It’s unlike certain other franchises where everything’s manufactured and cut into pieces. We do all the in-house processing of cutting the fruits and storing them, every day, day and night. Our stores are high-volume stores, so we have to make sure we are properly stocked, and that helps us all throughout the day if we are ready. You definitely have to be on your toes, all the time.
Q: What kind of support can you count on from the folks here at corporate?
Ever since I’ve been in this Juice It Up! franchise, any time I’ve asked for their help in terms of, “Okay. I need these new marketing materials. Can I get them?” the team will work on it. They’ll give me all the materials that I can share on social media. Any time I have an operational issue, they’re there. Sometimes my HR understanding might be limited, because I’m not a master in everything, so there comes the help of corporate. “I’m facing this issue. This is what I feel is right. Do you think you can guide me better?” Sometimes I’ve asked them to come up to my store and give more insightful information to the employees as to why this brand is important, why cleanliness is important. They are always there.
There’s quarterly feedback from them where they tell us where we stand in terms of our sales and how they should be trending. If there’s a quarter where the number of people coming to my store has fallen, then they’ll help me find out the ground reasons why they did. They’ll help me figure out the best marketing tools that can be used, whether it’s print media, social media or doing advertising in magazines, doing Valpak coupons or door hangers. Corporate will sit in with you one-on-one and say, “Hey, this is where your P&L is. I think your store can do this much marketing as an investment. In return, you could have that much growth in this time period.” Of course, the time period is very important. You cannot have returns overnight, but once they strategize that plan with you, I think that helps you achieve your goals.
Q: What did you want to achieve before you got into the business and how is it working out for you?
It’s a win-win situation in the sense that as a person, first of course you’re looking for money and profit from your business, but the underlying issue is, is it satisfying you? Certain jobs you do and you leave them because at some point you’re like, “Okay. My money needs are met and now I don’t feel that this job is giving me that satisfaction.” Every day when I wake up and I have to go to the store, it gives me happiness. Every day there’s a new challenge. You feel like breaking down, but then you see the positive side of it, and it’s your business. The more hard work you do, the more return you get. I promise you’ll get it. You just have to be patient.
Q: What do you think about the direction that this brand is headed in right now?
Juicing itself is growing. People have understood the benefits. It’s not just here. Juice It Up! has expanded and it’s now penetrating into many new markets. When Juice It Up! started, it was more related with smoothies, which you tend to relate to the summer season or to be in a place like California where it’s bright and sunny and you can have it for most of the months of the year. Juicing is not dependent on that. Juicing is a lifestyle. It’s more about health. It’s something you can have all throughout the year. It’s something that’s good for every single segment.
This brand itself is also growing and expanding. It has acquired a new market. They have multiple units opening. I just believe if people have that awakening and they know that their body can transform by eating something that’s healthy, they will be more into juicing. I’m a coffee drinker, too, don’t get me wrong. Starbucks revolutionized this whole country. I hope that Juice It Up! is at that level that is able to revolutionize everything, too, because juicing can bring happiness.