Through high-profit add-on items, smart waste management and local training in best practices, the fresh and healthy franchise never has to sacrifice the quality of its ingredients.
No one ever said committing to fresh ingredients was easy—even if SoBol makes it look like it is.
The fast-casual franchise is known for its refreshing smoothies and variety of healthy made-to-order bowls—like its special açai bowl topped with homemade granola and fresh fruit. These dairy-free, gluten-free treats are made fast, too, ready in just a few minutes.
Skeptics may think SoBol’s commitment to freshness means slim profit margins. But SoBol has figured out a way to have it all.
“We never compromise on the quality of our products,” said Paul Gucciardo, Director of Franchise Operations at SoBol. “We’d rather think of creative ways to shave points off labor costs, reduce waste and increase our average ticket sales than compromise the quality of our fruit. After all, our fresh fruit is what keeps the customers coming back.”
SoBol’s fruit is locally sourced when possible, only ever coming from approved and thoroughly vetted vendors. This process maintains quality control over produce freshness and keeps transportation costs low. SoBol often identifies and vets local fruit vendors on behalf of individual franchisees, taking the time-intensive burden off of operators while ensuring standards are met systemwide.
“Our process of identifying vendors is more than just sourcing fresh quality fruit. We go to the facility to make sure they meet our in-house and truck refrigeration standards. We also make sure they’re good people that fit within the SoBol brand and are people we want our franchisees to partner with,” explained Gucciardo.
Another way that SoBol helps keep profit margins as healthy as its menu is by developing unique and delicious ancillary items. SoBol’s locally-sourced granola bars are made with all-natural ingredients while fostering a high profit margin upon sale. SoBol also works with local coffee companies to offer a high quality, in-demand product to consumers that pays dividends to franchisees.
When it comes to guaranteeing solid profit margins in the food industry, companies must prioritize minimizing waste. SoBol cuts and blends its fruit fresh daily to minimize its waste, freezing any extra ingredients for next-day smoothies. “We are not coring a strawberry and having it ferment in a matter of weeks,” noted Gucciardo.
Best practices like this are thoroughly addressed through SoBol’s training process, which the brand takes very seriously. The brand ensures these best practices and solutions are available and accessible for every franchisee in its system. Local site visits by operational advisors are leveraged to routinely help coach franchisees and staff in best practices, review operations and offer suggestions. SoBol franchisees submit profit and loss reports to corporate on a monthly basis, and the executive team reviews these to ensure owners have all the tools and support they need to improve their profit margins on a local level.
“We help our franchisees by going through our profit and loss reports, and making sure the percentages are within a certain range,” explained Gucciardo, adding that SoBol is committed to shaving costs and streamlining processes for franchisees. “We make sure our labor forecasting is correct, we are analyzing the data to make sure staffing is done properly, and our utilities use green energy as much as possible.”
Overall, SoBol has thought it through when it comes to healthy profit margins coexisting with its fresh selection of menu items consumers love. “In the end, we want to make sure anything that doesn’t affect food quality are the areas where we can save our franchisees some money,” said Gucciardo.