Moving Beyond Smoothies, Jamba Juice CEO Sees “Wide-Open Opportunity”

Aaron Task
Daily TickerAugust 16, 2011

Since joining Jamba Juice in 2008, CEO James White has tried to transform Jamba Juice from a money-losing smoothie company to a profitable healthy-lifestyle brand.

So far, so good.

"We're very confident with the transition," White tells me in the accompanying video. Some of the highlights include:

  • Broadening the menu to include sandwiches, wraps, hot oatmeal, flatbreads, hot beverages, frozen yogurt, fresh juices and "better for you smoothies." Jamba Juice has 22 items on the menu with less than 250 calories, White says, countering the perception that its offerings aren't particularly healthy.
  • Upping license agreements with partners such as Nestle covering 30 products including, energy drinks, at home smoothie kits, frozen fruit sorbet and yogurt. The deals put Jamba products in over 20,000 points of distribution, including Whole Foods, across all 50 states.
  • The company sold 174 stores of its U.S. stores to franchisees, making Jamba Juice a more "asset-light and less capital intensive business model." White says many of the sales were made with the contingency that new franchise owners open additional stores. Jamba Juice is already in 25 states and about to embark on a major expansion from its base in California, beginning with a big push into the Northeast, as well as college campuses, airports and malls across the country. Internationally, the company is expanding further into South Korea and plans to build stores in Canada and the Philippines in the coming years.

Despite a weak economy, Jamba Juice reported a 4.3% increase in same-store sales in the second quarter. White says the company's revenue growth has "never been better" and is confident the company will be profitable in 2012. (Jamba Juice is set to report earnings after the close Tuesday; analysts are expecting EPS of 3 cents on revenue of just over $56 million.)

In the accompanying interview, James talks about the company's growth plans and his ambition to make Jamba Juice the premiere healthy lifestyle brand. "We see that as a wide-open opportunity," he says.

Aaron Task is the host of The Daily Ticker. You can follow him on Twitter at @atask or email him at altask@yahoo.com