Robeks Corporation has announced that it signed a multi-year master franchise agreement with Tokyo-based Clarence Corporation to open 500 smoothie cafes in Japan and 12 other Asian countries. The deal is the largest in the company's history and is the first phase of a larger expansion plan to take the premium smoothie brand to major countries around the globe.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Masahiro Koh, President of Clarence Corporation, said the timing of the agreement coincides with a renewed interest from Asian consumers in developing healthful eating habits. "We believe Robeks, with its premium fruit smoothies, proprietary supplements, and other all-natural products, will be a major player in the made-to-order beverage restaurant category in Asia. With growing waistlines from the consumption of traditional fast food, consumers across the globe are increasingly concerned about proper nutrition and good health. We have our sights set on making Robeks the market leader in this emerging category."
Three prototype stores, which will include relaxing cafe-style interiors where guests can socialize while they dine, are expected to open before a broad based store rollout beginning in 2011. In addition to these larger format stores, the rollout is expected to include smaller format kiosks in shopping malls, universities, transit hubs, office buildings, and other high foot-traffic areas. All stores will carry the core of Robeks branded, premium smoothies, as well as products developed specifically to appeal to local consumer tastes.
Steve Davidson, Robeks President and CEO, said "Since Robeks was founded in 1996, we have focused on one thing...offering the highest quality, blended-to-order fruit smoothies and other all-natural products to health conscious consumers throughout the United States. We now look forward to bringing the great health benefits of Robeks delicious menu items to millions of new customers throughout the world by forming franchise alliances with strong operators in major countries around the globe. Our expansion in Asia is an important first phase of this new global growth initiative, and we are thrilled to have Mr. Koh as our partner."
Since 1996, Robeks has made it easy for on-the-go consumers to eat healthful meals, with premium, blended-to-order fruit smoothies, fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices, nutritious snacks and sandwiches, wraps, salads and frozen yogurt. Based in Manhattan Beach, CA, Robeks serves more than seven million guests annually throughout its franchise system of 140 stores in 17 states and Washington, D.C. In 2007, the company moved up to No. 10 on Restaurant Business Magazine's "Fastest Growing" list and was No. 34 on Franchise Market Magazine's 2007 list of "100 Top New Franchises." Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Robeks as one of the "Top Ten New Franchises" in 2006. Robeks was also named the "official fruit smoothie" of the Los Angeles Marathon in 2007. In 2010, the Los Angeles Business Journal named Robeks the 7th largest LA-based franchise owner. For more information go to www.Robeks.com.
About the Clarence Corporation
In 1991, Masahiro Koh, entrepreneur, founded Clarence Corporation, a Tokyo-based firm specializing in the import and distribution of health food products in the Japanese market. The products include "JINRO," a well known mineral water brand imported from Korea. Clarence Corporation grew quickly and prospered, partly thanks to strong client relationships that included companies such as Lotte Confectionary, a retail giant in Japan and Asia.