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How to Start a Juice and Smoothie Bar

How to Start a Juice and Smoothie Bar

Last updated on 5/5/2021

Juice and smoothie bars used to attract only the most health-conscious consumers, but their mass appeal has grown due to an increased interest in wellness. Healthy living and nutritious diets are more popular than ever. For some, a daily visit to the local juice bar has become as routine as a trip to the corner coffee shop. If you’re interested in opening your own juice bar or smoothie shop, check out our juice bar startup guide.

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What Is a Juice Bar?

A juice bar is a shop that sells fruit and vegetable juices that are freshly squeezed on the premises. Most juice shops occupy a small footprint because they don't require a full kitchen or a seating area. Kiosks, juice carts, and juice food trucks are all popular models for a juice and smoothie shop. The rising popularity of healthy juices and the low start-up cost make juice shops an appealing business venture.

Open a Juice Bar

The process of opening your own juice bar and smoothie shop is much easier when you break it down into steps. We've created a 9-step juice bar guide to help you get started.

1. Choose a Juice Bar Concept and Brand

happy young female bartender standing at juice bar counter

Choosing the concept of your juice bar is the starting point in your journey. It’s also the most creative step along the way. You get to choose the theme of your shop, the types of ingredients you’ll use, and the way you’ll serve your customers. Check out these examples of juice bar concepts:

  • Mobile juice bar cart specializing in organic produce, vitamin supplements, and health tonics
  • Cafe-style juice bar with a food menu and co-working space
  • Smoothie shop with a build-your-own makeline where customers choose their smoothie base, ingredients, and add-ins

After you have a basic idea of your concept, you can work out the finer details of your brand. Your juice bar name, logo, menu options, and menu design are all part of your company branding and should communicate the same message.

Juice Bar Menu

There are many avenues you can take with your juice bar menu. You can keep it simple and stick to fresh cold-pressed juices only. Or you could get creative with different juice combinations and highlight a tropical fruit of the day. Some juice bars include blended smoothies and smoothie bowls. You may also decide to offer a small food menu with healthy salads and sandwiches. Make sure to consider your staffing requirements and the types of equipment you’ll need to produce certain menu items.

2. Write a Juice Bar Business Plan

Juice bar business plan title on business paper

Writing a business plan is the next step in the process of opening your juice bar. Don’t skip the business plan, even if you think you have all the details of your business memorized. It’s a professional way to gather all your important info in one place and present the idea to potential investors. Your juice bar business plan should contain the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary - Write this section last and use it to summarize the business plan as a whole.
  2. Company Overview and Description - Include a detailed overview of your juice bar business.
  3. Concept and Menu - In this section, describe all the details of your juice bar concept and menu.
  4. Management and Ownership Structure - This section should explain the hierarchy of your management structure.
  5. Employees and Staffing Needs - List out all staff positions and the number of employees needed for operation.
  6. Marketing and Competitor Analysis - Perform research on local competitors and provide an analysis of your findings in this section.
  7. Advertising and Marketing Strategies - Outline the types of advertising and marketing strategies you’ll use for your juice bar.
  8. Financial Projection and Summary - Use this section to provide a sales forecast and break-even analysis.

If you want to learn more about writing business plans, check out our comprehensive restaurant business plan guide.

3. Obtain Juice Bar Funding

small business loan application on the desk

When you officially obtain funding for your juice bar, your vision starts to become a reality. This part of the process can be intimidating if you’ve never started a business, but after you’ve written a business plan, you’ll have a better idea of your startup costs. Compare your total startup costs to the amount of capital you have on hand. After you determine the balance, you’ll know how much funding you need to open your juice bar. Don’t forget to include the working capital needed to operate the juice bar until you start turning a profit.

  • Small Business Loan - The Small Business Association (SBA) works with lenders to make it easier for small businesses to get loans. SBA-approved loans offer unique benefits like lower down payments and capped interest rates.

  • Traditional Commercial Loan - A traditional commercial loan is typically larger than a small business loan. Because the loan amount is greater, lenders usually have a stricter application process and require that your business bring in higher revenues.

  • Business Line of Credit - A business line of credit is similar to a credit card. Instead of a lump sum, borrowers receive a line of credit to use for expenses as they come up. Access to short-term funding like this is most helpful with operational expenses.

  • Crowdfunding - Crowdfunding has become a legitimate method to raise funds for your business. There are several platforms that allow you to create a campaign and start accepting donation-based or rewards-based contributions.

For in-depth financial information, check out our restaurant funding and loans guide.

4. Choose a Juice and Smoothie Shop Location

wooden table and chair inside of glass room with garden

Your juice bar location and business concept should go hand in hand. Sometimes choosing your location ends up being the first step in the process of opening your business. You might have your eye on a commercial space that speaks to you, or maybe you got a great deal on leasing a juice bar kiosk. If that’s the case, you should base the concept of your shop on your chosen location. For example, if the location is in a college town, you’ll want to create a concept that appeals to a young crowd.

If you have your heart set on a particular concept, you’ll need to find a juice bar location that can support it. Look for locations near gyms or in neighborhoods with jogging paths and outdoor spaces. Boardwalks, beach towns, and charming main streets are great for juice bars and smoothie shops. Performing a location analysis will help you understand the benefits and limitations of specific locations.

5. Obtain Permits and Licenses for Your Juice Shop

application for permit form

Before your juice bar can open for business, you’ll need to obtain several permits and licenses at the federal, state, and local levels. Enlisting the help of legal counsel ensures you won’t miss a step when filing for new permits.

  • Business License - Every new business needs a business license to operate legally in the US. Each state has its own business license requirements.

  • Employee Identification Number - You need an Employee Identification Number (EIN) to start hiring employees and set up your payroll. The application process can be lengthy, so start working on this one right away.

  • Foodservice License - To legally serve food, you’ll need a foodservice business license. This requires an inspection that shows your business meets food safety protocols.

Learn more about foodservice permits in our restaurant licenses guide.

6. Juice Bar Equipment and Supplies

barista removes enclosure from avamix blender

Juice bars have unique inventory needs because fresh produce will make up the bulk of your food orders. That means you’ll need to find a high-quality wholesale produce supplier. Look for distributors that can supply you with local seasonal produce, but you may also need a different supplier for fruits that don’t grow locally. You’ll want to consider these factors when choosing a produce supplier:

  • Produce Selection - Some suppliers specialize in citrus fruits only while others provide a wide selection

  • Fair Trade Certified - Look for suppliers that only work with fair trade certified growers

  • Farming Practices - If organic, pesticide-free produce is part of your concept, you’ll need to find a supplier that can meet these needs

  • Specialty Items - Depending on your location, you may need to find suppliers to provide you with specialty, tropical produce

With fresh produce also comes the need for specialized storage techniques. Understanding the shelf-life of certain fruits will be key to your reordering schedule. Some fruits need refrigeration, and some fruits need to be washed prior to storage. Check out our produce storage guide for detailed information.

Your juice bar will need to be outfitted with the right equipment for storing, prepping, and juicing fresh fruits. Commercial juicers are the obvious place to start, but there are several types of juicers designed for different applications. Here is a list of juice bar equipment and supplies you'll need to get started:

  • Juicers - Centrifugal, masticating, citrus, and wheatgrass juicers
  • Blenders - High-powered blenders with sound enclosures
  • Food Prep - Peelers, chef knives, and cutting boards
  • Refrigeration - Refrigerated storage for produce, glass case merchandisers for bottled juices
  • Ice Machines - Ice machines that produce enough ice for your blended drinks
  • Cups, Bowls, Lids, Straws - Eco-friendly disposables for serving juices, smoothies, and smoothie bowls

7. Hire Juice Bar Staff

smiling waitress working at smoothie bar

Labor cost for a juice bar is relatively low compared to other foodservice businesses because a small staff is sufficient to run the shop. For a small juice bar kiosk, one or two employees may be all you need. Bigger locations that serve more than one guest at a time will need a larger staff. Also, consider that on truck receiving days you may need to schedule extra employees to inspect and put away produce shipments.

Outside of your juice bar staff, you might also employ other professionals to run your website or handle your accounting. Here are some ways to attract possible candidates for your new juice bar:

  • Write a Great Job Description - It might seem obvious, but the job description you write goes a long way to attracting the type of candidate you are looking for. Put some thought into the description and make sure it conveys your values and company mission.

  • Social Recruiting - Many folks in the workforce use the social platform LinkedIn to search for jobs. Create a LinkedIn profile and take advantage of the recruiting features the site offers.

  • Job Search Websites - Make a job listing on popular search engines like Indeed, Monster, and SimplyHired.

  • Go Old School - Believe it or not, posting jobs in the newspaper or just putting up a “Now Hiring” sign on your storefront are still options that work.

8. Advertise Your Juice Bar

hands holding phone and taking photo of stylish pineapple in sunglasses with fruit in background

Advertising your new juice bar is how you let the public know you are open and ready for business. Today, digital methods of advertising are extremely important if you want to reach a wide audience. It’s very easy to advertise your business online and you can start doing it early on to build excitement for your brand. Check out our tips for marketing your new juice bar:

  • Build a Website - You absolutely must have a website if you own a business. Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert to put together a user-friendly website. Platforms like Squarespace and WordPress help you design an attractive site and are very easy to use.

  • Increase Your Digital Presence - Register your business with online platforms like Google My Business, OpenTable, or Trip Advisor. This increases your online presence and helps you connect with potential customers.

  • Create a Blog - Add a blog section to your website to help search engines recognize your business and build awareness around your brand. Since juicing is your realm of expertise, create a blog that’s devoted to juicing. Cover topics like juicing benefits, the best fruits and vegetables for juicing, or how to use commercial juicers.

  • Use Social Media - Just like a company website, your social media accounts are a crucial part of advertising in the digital age. You can choose to set up company profiles on all platforms, or take a more systematic approach by zeroing in on the platforms that your target customers use.

9. Juice Bar Soft Opening

home made farmhouse style we are open sign outside of small business

Before your official grand opening, it can be helpful to plan a practice run. A soft opening is a modified opening that gives your team the opportunity to test out the flow of service. You can observe potential hiccups and get a better idea of what processes may need to be improved before the big grand opening. Here are some tips for planning a soft opening of your juice bar:

  • Friends and Family Night - Invite friends and family of your staff for a sneak peek opening. It’s a good way to ease into things because there’s less pressure when you know all the guests.

  • Neighborhood Meetup - Send soft opening invites to neighboring businesses and residents. You get to meet all your neighbors and get the word out in your community.

  • Limited Menu - For your soft opening, it can be helpful to start with a small limited menu. Instead of offering all juices on your menu, you could showcase three different juices. It’s less stressful for your employees when you start small.

Juice Bar FAQS

closeup shot of waitress serving freshly made avocado and mango juices at cafe

We cover some of the most common juice bar questions below:

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Juice Bar?

The average startup cost for a juice bar, not including operational cost, is between $25,000 and $400,000. The reason for this wide range is that the location, build-out expenses, and store size are different for every juice shop. If you lease an existing space that requires little remodeling, your cost will be on the low side. On the other end of the spectrum, a complete remodel of your space will be much more expensive. These are some of the factors that affect your startup costs:

  • Franchise or Independent - Popular juice and smoothie franchises, like Smoothie King or Jamba Juice, can provide built-in branding and recognition for your new business if you choose that route. But franchise fees will increase your startup costs and you'll have to pay ongoing royalties. If you go independent, you avoid these extra costs.

  • Juice Cart, Kiosk, or Juice Truck - Juice bars by nature don't require a lot of square footage. Instead of a brick and mortar, consider a mobile business like a juice cart or food truck. Your startup costs will be much lower with a mobile or kiosk-style location than with a traditional storefront.

  • Sell Juice From Home - There's a wave of entrepreneurs starting businesses from their homes. With the right permits and inspections, you can turn your kitchen into a juice factory and sell your products online or at local markets.

Are Juice Bars Profitable?

Yes, juice bars have the potential to be very profitable. It's reported that the average revenue of a juice bar can range from $100,000 to $600,000. Juice bar profit margins are bigger than other restaurants because labor and expenses are much lower. You don't need a full kitchen staff, and you aren't running cooking equipment all day long.

If you have a passion for wellness, consider opening a juice bar. Consumers are gravitating towards healthy, plant-based foods, and they want products that are good for their bodies and the environment. There's never been a better time to start your own juice bar and smoothie shop.

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