How To Start A Juice Bar
Recent studies indicate that in comparison to other generations, health and wellness are a larger concern for millennials. Analyzing this generation’s values, we find health ranks near the top, second only to family. The current set eats healthier, smokes less, and exercises more. They care more about healthy food choices than previous generations, which has created new market opportunities across the nation and globe. As this generation gradually shuts its pocketbook (smartphone payment apps) to junk and fast food, it embraces fresh, less processed, and locally grown options. Learning how to start a juice bar involves diligence and research to make it work.
This value shift toward healthier food preferences has created seismic shifts in the types of food and drink establishments operators are now opening. By early 2019, the industry hit 3 billion in revenue, according to IBISWorld, and the number of Juice and Smoothie businesses grew by 3.4 percent, or 5,861. That’s a lot of juice!
The History of Juice Bars
Juice bars began proliferating in the early 1990s when independent stores started opening up across the country. A few years later, two major players, gained market share by expanding their footprints nationwide to become staples in this space: Jamba Juice and Smoothie King.
By the end of the ‘90s, the market needed promotion, education, and support organization to help the industry grow further, and The Juice and Smoothie Association (JASA) formed. Juice, smoothie and protein shake bars are an obsession for many as Americans have consumed an average of 18.5 L per capita in the United States in 2019 alone. These hardcore juice enthusiasts may rival coffee consumers as some of the most loyal and repeat customers for a business.
Location, Location, Location
When it comes to homes or businesses, your location remains key. This principle is especially true with juice bars where the market demographic leans toward the young and upwardly mobile. Find a popular area, and you’ll pay through the nose in rent. Find an up-and-coming locale, and you might be first in line to benefit from the coming boom. Wherever you choose to locate your new business, spend time in the area and watch people come and go and gather. This boots-on-the-ground research will give you some indication about the locations’ potential.
If you’ve located your juice bar near a fitness club, running store, gym, yoga or Pilates studio, you are well ahead of your competition. Drawing a health conscious crowd is critical to drawing repeat customers. Locating your juice bar in the middle of school and university students or near parks, plazas or shopping centers and you can position yourself for success.
Juice Bar Startup Costs
For the healthy aspects of juice bars, consider stocking up on spirulina, wheatgrass, wheatgerm, and chlorella. Look for low cost snack pairings that balance affordability with health consciousness. Consider options like smoothies, cold press juices, protein shakes, or breakfast juices. With that in mind, let’s look at the costs involved.
If you want instant brand recognition, but find marketing a challenge for you, then buying a juice franchise area with a known company is the easiest way to start. Franchise fees can be steep, ranging from $25,000-$42,500 with total startup costs beginning at $200,000 to upwards of $400,000. The type of establishment you open will determine into which end of that range you’ll fall. Going for a kiosk type franchise will lower your costs while buying into a full serve light food establishment can top them out quickly.
You can opt to build a juice bar brand but recognize that you must build your credibility over time, and time is money. When you factor in that time, also consider some other necessary costs:
- Equipment and supplies
- Labor costs
- Maintenance and utilities
- Website hosting, design, and ongoing maintenance
- Insurance and permits
Permits for Starting a Juice Bar
As with all businesses, you’ll need a general business license which you can apply for in person, or online. From there, you’ll need a permit to sell food and drinks. These requirements will vary slightly from state to state. If you have any questions about the permits that you’ll need in yours, contact your local business council to make sure you comply.
Locating Juice Bar Suppliers
Your customers will choose your juice bar for many reasons. Often, your clientele will demand fresh, organic ingredients sourced from local farmers. You’ll likely pay more for locally sourced ingredients, but your stocking needs may be less since you have quicker access to a supplier. To find the right suppliers, search local farmers markets, growers’ associations, and even local orchards in your area.
Don’t forget about wholesale stores for ice, fruit, vegetables, and supplies. You may give up some convenience in trekking to Costco or Sam’s Club, but you’ll find many items quite cost effective there.
If you’re starting a brand from scratch, you can save on equipment by searching for lightly-used materials on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and even EstateSales.net. You’ll often find restaurant businesses selling their equipment upon closing.
Marketing Your Juice Bar
The clientele at a juice bar come from all around. While they may be the most tech-savvy group who need a little online coaxing through social media and Google AdWords, they also like to buy food at farmers markets. Consider a bit of new and “old school” marketing to engage your prospective juice consuming customers.
As mentioned in our above section on finding the right location, high traffic locations brimming with the younger, healthier set is the piece de resistance of marketing. If you are fortunate to get a location like this, you can enact some low-effort marketing strategies through well-placed signage. Take advantage of the opportunities that your location affords you.
Don’t forget some of the traditional promotion and marketing options. These tried and true methods work for any business, but factor in the time and able bodies that you’ll need to pull these marketing tactics off.
- Hand or mail out coupons and flyers to announce your opening and specials
- Sponsor fitness events and supply free samples
- Prepare large signs to attract foot traffic
- Go business to business and door-to-door with flyers that can be handed out and posted in coffee shops
Audit your internet presence and make sure it shines. You’ll want to make your website and social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp) sizzle and pop to engage your fan base. Meanwhile, don’t forget to reward your customers. A loyalty rewards program can keep your customers coming back again and again.
The Bottom Line: Juice Bar Revenue
Running a successful Juice Bar venture can provide you with a steady and fruitful bottom line. According to StartupJungle, a juice bar can pull in $100,000 to $600,000 annually. If you’re lucky enough to open your juice bar in a health-conscious city, your revenue could soar even higher. If you are fortunate to live in a year-round temperate climate, you have a better than average chance of steady income month after month. Juice bars are especially prone to seasonal attrition caused by prolonged winter months. Try to factor for those slower, off months into your financial equation, or be ready to pivot toward a different model such as hot chocolate and whipped cream to keep the money rolling in.
Juice bars can be lucrative and satisfy a niche in your city that you never realized. Opening a juice bar gives you the opportunity to potentially touch the lives of the people in your community, by giving them healthy alternatives. The steps for how to start a juice bar involves research, planning, and saving. As long as you stay attentive to your crowd, you can ensure that your business never runs out of juice.
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About the Author
Amber Mullaney led all things marketing for QSR. A proud Texan native, she graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Public Relations and spent her career in the healthcare industry before making the switch to QSR and beyond, saying she loves a good challenge. Amber has a long list of things she loves, including tacos (especially tacos), sweet tea, Texas, the outdoors, and traveling with her husband and two daughters.