How to Start Your Own Juice Bar Business

By Tom Egelhoff

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America is getting healthier.

Yes, really.

Diabetes and high cholesterol rates are falling every year. People are even cutting down on cigarettes!

In 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 1.7 million new cases of diabetes. By 2015, it dropped to 1.4 million, and that number is projected to drop even more this coming year.

Unfortunately,  the American Diabetes Association states that diabetes directly kills more than 71,000 people a year, most of which are type-2 diabetes, which is linked to poor diet and a lack of exercise.

So while there is a trend towards a more health-conscious America, there’s still a long way to go.

And that’s where we come in.

Juice bars first started in the 1990s as people began focusing on the long term effects of fast food on their bodies. This is one 90s craze that stuck around, as the juice bar industry continues to grow and thrive.

This industry has grown to yearly revenues of more than $5 billion. And it’s only getting bigger, growing at a steady rate of 4%-8% every year.

Starting a juice bar isn’t just a good way to make a living, it’s a good way to improve people’s lives. It seems like everyone has more of everything today – except time. Everyone is always on the move and in a hurry. They don’t have time to cook healthy meals at home, and want something fast. But they still want healthy.

How to Start Your Own Juice Bar Business

Enter juice.

Whether you’re making smoothies, protein shakes, or breakfast juices, you have the opportunity to provide people with an organic, healthy, fast and affordable meal option.

At this point, you’re probably thinking about how to start a juice bar.

Well, you came to the right place!

After reading this article, you’ll understand the principles involved in opening and running a successful juice bar business, and turn your passion for healthy living into a thriving business.

Step 1: Learn How a Juice Bar Works

If you’re seriously considering opening your own juice bar, then it’s critical that you do lots of researching into the juice bar market and understand how the industry works.

You can do this in two ways: from the outside, and from the inside.

From the outside, it’s important to study your competition. Look for successful juice bars that you know of, and really study their business. Go as often as you can. Become their best customer. Study their products. Examine their marketing techniques. Look at their staffing plan. If you can learn the main operating points of the most successful juice bar business in your area, then you can mimic that operation and avoid a lot of typical beginner’s mistakes.

Some key points to look for in a juice bar business:

  • What are their top selling juices or offerings?
  • Who is their market? How often do they purchase and how much do they spend?
  • How are they promoting the business?
  • What are some of their regular specials?
  • Is their process efficient?

The more you know about what drives their success, the better equipped your business well be. Which ties into the second option for learning the industry; from the inside.

There is no better way to understand the juice bar business than to go work for a successful juice bar. While you can get a feel for all the above points being a customer, you can truly understand it by participating in the process.

This is especially helpful from an operations aspect. You’ll get to sit in on meetings and be trained in the actual process of creating the juices. You won’t just know which products sell best, but which products don’t sell at all.

You’ll learn peak times. Marketing strategies. Staffing procedures.

The list goes on and on.

So before you do anything else in regards to starting a juice bar business, take some time and research the industry to help you create a plan.

Step 2: Create a Plan

Why do juice bar businesses fail?

Juice bars are really a numbers game. You have to anticipate how many people will be coming into your store, and when.

You have to figure out what they will order, and how much of it.

The best way to do this is to create an actual business plan. This is so important for many reasons. First off, any financing or investor options you explore will require you to have a business plan. But just as important is that you’re creating an actual map for your business.

By putting in the thought and making decisions now, you’ll expedite the entire process down the road.

Put a business plan together that includes both your expected costs and your projected income. This takes research and time. But that time saves you so much more time down the road.

Other elements to add into your business plan include:

  • Operating costs, including rent and supplies. Will you buy? Rent? Lease?
  • Location. Where will your store open?
  • Target market: Who is your customer? Where does s/he live and hang out?
  • Legal requirements: What licenses and permits do you need? How much do they cost?
  • Insurance needs and requirements
  • Staffing plan: how many employees do you need and what will you pay them?
  • Marketing plan (and budget), what’s the best way to reach your audience?

If you’re not sure where to start, Startup Jungle can help you create an expertly organized and professional business plan for your juice bar business.

Just email [email protected], and they’ll give you the help you need.

Step 3: Discover Earning Potential

The biggest question people wanting to enter the business ask is how much money do juice bars make?

That number varies based on location, prices, profit margins, and operating expenses. But the average revenue of a juice bar ranges from $100,000 to $600,000 a year. Keep in mind, that’s average revenue. If you’re in a thriving, growing, healthy city then you can easily eclipse that mark. But on the other side of the coin, if you don’t treat your business as a business, you can fail to meet that minimum revenue.

As the juice bar industry continues to grow at a steady 4%-8% every year, its $5 billion in revenue in 2014 is projected to rise past $8 billion a year in the next 4 years.

With the industry thriving and the country becoming more health-oriented, now is a perfect time to open a juice bar.

The earnings potential is there, it’s just up to you to determine how to maximize it.

Step 4: Set a Budget

If you’re wondering how much does it cost to open a juice bar, well that answer varies too.

A juice bar can cost anywhere from $47,000 to $395,000 depending on franchise costs — if any, construction costs, equipment and ingredient choices, business and health licensing.

Buying into a franchise has its benefits, such as marketing help, systems, and processes already in place, making building and operating your store significantly easier. Plus, having instant brand recognition attracts lots of customers and gives your business automatic credibility. However, your initial costs will be significantly higher due to franchise fees.

Is the added cost worth it? That’s a decision you have to make for yourself, and a budget can help.

Your budget is the biggest part of your business plan and should be used as a factor in making all financial decisions.

List all operating costs, no matter how small, whether they’re recurring or fixed, in your budget. Subtract those costs from your total available money, and what’s left is how much you have for marketing, reinvesting back into the business, and profit.

When you overspend on one category, you then need to take money out of another category. That’s why your budget is important, it keeps you on track.

Some costs to consider:

  • Rent/mortgage
  • Labor costs
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Ingredients
  • Marketing
  • Maintenance
  • Utilities
  • Permits
  • Insurance
  • Website hosting, design, maintenance

You may come across more costs, such as renovations and construction, when you open a juice bar. Starting a juice bar business can be expensive. That’s why it’s important to keep costs down.

Some tips to keep costs down include:

  • Staff appropriately (labor is your highest cost)
  • Don’t over order. This may take a little time, but you’ll figure out your average sales for certain products and their ingredients. Having to throw away excess ingredients is extremely wasteful and harmful to your business
  • Use washable rags instead of paper towels for cleanup
  • Be aware of inefficiencies – lay out your kitchen with a plan, get the product out as quickly and efficiently as possible to maximize profits

Use your budget to help guide your decisions, your business will thank you for it!

Step 5: Decide Which Products or Services to Offer

Deciding what products to offer can be a little intimidating and feel overwhelming. But it’s critical to your business’s success. This is where you decide why someone should buy from you instead of your competition.

What is your unique selling point?

What can you offer that nobody else can? Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your service, maybe it’s your experience. But figure it out, write it down, and make it your store’s centerpiece, literally and figuratively.

Are you going to serve just one type of drink?

Maybe you envision being a juice cleanse type of bar?

Will you have healthy snack options?

Or a healthy kitchen?

A healthy menu can offer your business a lot more opportunity to upsell and produce more profit.

Get creative!

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fruit and veggie combinations to come up with something that no one else has. If you can come up with your own healthy, tasty recipes for both juice and food, your business can find itself squeezing the competition. Keep an eye on the competition to see what their menu looks like. If certain juices are popular, you want to have an alternative to that option so you don’t lose customers.

Also, be prepared for seasonal changes, which could negatively impact your business. Winter can usually take a toll on juice bars, but if you can come up with a hot option, such as a specialty coffee for energy, then you’ve got an opportunity to offset those down times. On the other hand, after the holiday season, people start focusing on their health again, and juice bars become a popular search.

Just remember that you want to focus on providing a diverse, broad menu without sacrificing efficiency or quality.

You can expect to charge $8-$11 for a drink, depending on drink size and ingredients involved.

Step 6: Decide on a Location

In the juice bar business, location is vital to your business’s success.

Choose a location based on your target market; health conscientious consumers who either don’t have time to make a meal, or simply prefer the health benefits of a juice. Ideally, you’ll want to set your juice bar near a gym, yoga studio, or some other fitness club. Shopping malls, schools, parks, and plazas are high traffic locations which can attract lots of passersby.

Try and avoid opening your juice bar near an already existing, successful juice bar. That puts you in a poor competitive position right away. Urban areas produce the most revenue for juice bars. Semi-urban areas are also good, as are suburbs. Try and avoid rural areas.

Some factors to consider when choosing a location:

  • Budget
  • Parking
  • Visibility from the street
  • Ease of access
  • Lighting

If you’re not sure about what locations may be best, check with a commercial realtor. S/he may have some great suggestions for you within your budget.

Step 7: Find Suppliers

What equipment do you need to open a juice bar?

Again, that answer depends on your business model. But some basics include:

  • Commercial blenders
  • Juicers – you may want different types for each offering, such as
    • Centrifugal Juicers – the fastest juicers, their motors run between 3,000RPM to 14,000RPM. They are the least expensive juicers, ideal for limited budgets.
    • Masticating Juicers (single gear juicers) – produce is broken down slowly and thoroughly; juice yield and nutritional value are higher than that of a centrifugal juicer.
    • Triturating Juicers (twin gear juicers) – Squeezes almost every drop of juice at a very slow speed, producing a higher yield with less oxidation. Perfect for wheatgrass and leafy greens juicing.
  • Refrigerator
  • Ice machine
  • Sinks
  • Dishwasher
  • Cutting boards
  • Knives
  • Measuring cups
  • Scales
  • Point of Sale (POS) system
  • Tables and chairs for customers (optional, but improves sales and retention)
  • Napkins, cups, cutlery, plates, etc.
  • Decoration/Art/Entertainment

Some good options for equipment are:

Don’t be afraid to buy used equipment or discounted new equipment with a barely noticeable dent. You still get the warranty! And check out restaurant auctions for good deals.

You’ll also need regular fresh supplies and ingredients. Do your best to source fresh, organic ingredients from local vendors and farmers. This gets you the freshest ingredients in the fastest time, making sure that you don’t have to order quite so much with each order. Check out the local farmers market, growers association, and orchards in your area. This gives you options to figure out what the most affordable and efficient vendor option looks like.

Or look for wholesale stores like Costco or Sam’s Club for your vegetables, fruit, and ice. While this may not be quite as efficient due to having to go pick up the ingredients, it can be extremely cost effective.

Step 8: Promote Your Juice Bar

Remember, a juice bar is a volume game. And to keep that volume high, you have to have a plan in place to bring in customers.

First, figure out who your customer is and where s/he hangs out. Then figure out how to get them to come in.

Some great promotion and marketing options include:

  • Hand out coupons and flyers
  • Participate at local gyms or fitness events with free samples
  • Large, clear signs to attract cars and foot traffic
  • Hang flyers on bulletin boards around town and in coffee shops

Then focus on digital marketing. This is efficient and affordable, and speaks directly to your audience, as juice bars tend to attract a young, tech-savvy crowd. Take advantage of Google Adwords and Facebook’s Local Awareness ads feature to target consumers within a certain distance of your business.

Pay attention to your website and social media properties like Yelp, Twitter, and your Facebook fan page.

Consider a loyalty rewards or referral program to bring in new customers and keep your current customers coming back.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how great your product is if you don’t have anyone to serve it to. So make sure you’re putting a lot of thought into your marketing and promotions plan.

Step 9: Create a Staffing Plan

You can not do everything in a juice business on your own.

You need employees.

It’s up to you to figure out how many employees you need and where to find them. Be sure to hire people who are both friendly and upbeat, as well as efficient and responsible. Friends and family are a great place to start. Other options include coffee shop bulletin boards and Craigslist.

Once you know what traits you’re looking for and how many employees you want to hire, make sure you have an interview process in mind and a plan for the hiring process.

Then comes scheduling.

Remember, labor will always be your highest recurring cost, so it’s important for you as a business owner to keep labor as low as you can without harming your business.

If you consistently schedule too much staff, your business will spend too much and suffer. There’s a fear of not getting to all your customers in time and annoying them with a wait. But scheduling solely for peak hours and having your employees standing around the rest of the shift can do more harm than good.

On the other hand, if you under staff, your juice stars may get frazzled and feel overwhelmed by how much there is to get done.

Eventually, you’ll come to understand the needs of a  juice bar, but until then, be willing to schedule yourself to fill in as needed to keep waits down and save money.

It’s equally important to check in with your staff on a monthly basis to talk about recurring problems and inefficiencies. Take them out to lunch and give them a place to voice those concerns.

Step 10: Decide on a Style/Design

Here’s another area that can be overwhelming.

Your style and design directly influence how you want your customers to feel about your business. You want to be warm and welcoming but still able to express your own flare and passion. Just be careful not to overdo it and risk scaring away customers.

The best way to figure this piece out is to talk to prospective customers. Get feedback from the people who would be frequenting your juice bar. Talk to them at existing juice bars. See what people like and don’t like. If you’re still not sure, talk to some contractors and see what’s most commonly requested of them.

Another option is 99designs.com.

Here, you get designers competing for your prize money. For as little as $99, you get to choose from a large selection of high-quality logo options, giving you flexibility and options, and hopefully providing some inspiration.

If you’re struggling with some name ideas, some ideas for you to think about are:

  • Juiced
  • Just Juiced
  • Fruitastic
  • FruitTango
  • The Juice Jungle
  • Fresh Juicery
  • Fruit Lagoon
  • VitaFruit
  • FruitPower
  • FruitPulse
  • FruitFusion

Take your time with choosing your style. Remember, it should express you and your business, so make it appealing!

Step 11: Create an Accounting Plan

Having an accounting plan is a must for any business.

As a business, you’ll be an employer. As such, you’re responsible for payroll taxes and documenting all your income. Which is why it’s so critical to have every dollar accounted for and everything in order.

Equally important, you’ll be able to project your sales more easily with proper tracking, in addition to knowing if you are on track to stick to your budget. You’ll also be able to tell if anything is missing from your store, making an accounting plan part of your store’s security measures.

These are only a few accounting software that we’ve seen shops use:

Step 12: Get Into the Juice Bar Community

If you’re exploring franchise options then you’ll be joining a community with built-in support networks.

But if you’re planning on being an independent shop, then it’s important you get involved in the juice bar community.

Start with the Juice and Smoothie Association (JASA).

Look on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for accounts to follow and groups to join. Join local juice meetups.

This is an opportunity to network, find out about new recipes, and learn new industry best practices and techniques to optimize your business.

You never know where your big break or a great employee may come from, so become involved in the industry community and go to trade shows and meetups whenever possible!

The Bottom Line

Starting a juice bar business is a lot of work.  Running one is equally hard if not harder.

But if you do it right, it’s not only rewarding, it’s a lot of fun.

You get to be your own boss and brighten people’s lives on a daily business! On top of that, you’re helping them improve their health!

Hopefully, you put this guide to use.

If this was helpful for you and you want to learn more about opening a juice bar business, StartupJungle.com has a 21 point checklist for starting your new business. Make sure you download this if you’re serious about getting started.

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