Opening and running a juice bar can be fun and rewarding, but you must be ready to put in the required effort. In this review, I have detailed the 12 steps you need to follow when opening a juice bar.
Written by Business Expert Wale Ameen
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Don’t have time to read this whole review? Skip ahead to:
- Opening a Juice Bar – A Complete Overview
- 12 Steps on How to Open a Juice Bar
- How Much Does it Cost to Open a Juice Bar?
- Is Opening a Juice Bar Profitable?
- Juice Bar Franchise Options
Opening a Juice Bar – A Complete Overview
The juice and smoothie bar industry is an exciting and profitable one to venture into, as it holds quite a number of opportunities. Measured by revenue, it is estimated to be worth $2.8 billion as of 2022 and is expected to increase by 8.8%. It is noted to have grown by 1.6% per year on average between the years of 2017 and 2022.
According to IBISWorld, the market size of the Juice & Smoothie Bars industry in the United States has increased faster than the Consumer Goods and Services sector overall. Being a low barrier entry business, it is very easy to start up, although this is also one of its challenges since virtually anyone can set one up.
Opening and managing a juice bar requires as much effort as any other retail business. While it can be fun to run, it also requires diligence and good management, coupled with the right equipment, such as a good retail POS system, to ensure all angles are well covered.
In this review, I have broken down all that you need to open a juice bar into steps. By following these steps, you can be sure of getting maximum returns from your juice bar.
What Is a Juice Bar?
A juice bar is a shop that sells fruits and vegetables that are freshly squeezed on site for customers to enjoy either on the premises or in take away containers. Juice bars typically occupy small areas due to their nature. While some are located at street corners, others are simply mobile kiosks, juice carts, or juice food trucks.
The juice & smoothie industry is made up of businesses that engage in the sale of smoothies and freshly made juices. By definition, a smoothie is a blended beverage that is primarily made from fresh fruits or vegetables and is combined with ice, frozen fruit, or other ingredients. Other offerings offered by juice bars include parfaits, and add-ons like soy milk, green tea, or even herbal and nutritional supplements.
The juice bar and juice & smoothie bar is gradually witnessing more patronage and this largely draws from the fact that more and more people are considering healthier styles of living.
12 Steps On How To Open A Juice Bar
An overview of the 10 steps to running a juice bar is as follows:
- Understand How A Juice Bar Works
- Develop A Juice Bar Business Plan
- Decide On The Best Legal Structure For Your Juice Bar
- Source For Funding For Your Juice Bar
- Decide On Location
- Secure Necessary Permits And Licenses
- Get Necessary Equipments
- Get A Good Juice Bar POS
- Decide On Your Juice Bar Branding, Advertising and Marketing Strategy
- Hire Your Juice Bar Employees
- Decide On Your Juice Bar Menu
- Launch Your Juice Bar
Let’s take each of the items above and discuss what each step entails.
1. Understand How A Juice Bar Works
The secret to running a juice bar properly and successfully lies, first of all, in understanding the business itself. Two ways to do this would be to either learn the ropes by understudying the business process while working with one or to simply read up and learn all you can from the experiences of others.
The juice bar or juice and smoothie bar business is an increasingly growing one and one that is continually seeing patronage and growth in mass appeal, largely due to the fact that more and more people are increasingly becoming health conscious and desiring to keep fit, and as such, a good way to achieve this is by taking lots and lots of fruits and veggies.
Now juice bars come in different settings and setups, and you’ll need to understand how these work in order to decide which model you would prefer to run, and this will be based on your own peculiarities. There are basically four types of juice bars. These are dine-ins, counter only, window only, and juice trucks. Let’s take a look at how each of these works:
- Dine-ins: Dine-in juice bars basically operate like the typical restaurant style with counters and space for customers to sit in and take their orders. Customers have the option of either sitting or just simply taking their orders and going away. This style could also be indoors or outdoor spaces.
- Counter Only: The counter only model is the abridged version of dine-ins as it is stripped of the sitting area and offers just the counter, where customers come to order their juices and smoothies and subsequently walk away.
- Window Only: A window only version means that customers simply place and receive their orders from servers through windows.
- Juice Trucks: This is the mobile version of the juice bar and essentially helps you reach more people and be very dynamic also.
2. Develop a Juice Bar Business Plan
Opening and running a juice bar is simply like any other business, and as such, you must get your act together first by having a business plan. A business plan essentially helps you plan ahead and capture all important aspects of a business, such as the financials, marketing, and projections. Here are the important sections your business plan must contain:
- Executive Summary: This section summarizes your entire plan.
- Company Overview and Description: This section details the important details of your business and company.
- Market Analysis: Here, you detail all that is known about the juice sales market. Your competitors and what they are doing to stand out in the business.
- Organization and Management: You are to outline all your company structure and hierarchy. Who does what and who makes what decision.
- Product Line: This section details what you intend to sell. What kind of fruit are you intending to sell? Will you be adding eatables and so on.
- Marketing Strategy: What marketing strategies will you be deploying and what are the expected results
- Funding: This section captures how you plan to raise funds. How do you also plan to utilize these funds?
- Projections: What are your projections for the business? How soon will it become profitable? You are expected to detail all of these in this section.
While nothing is cast in stone and the business reality may be slightly different than what you have documented in your business plan, your business plan still acts as a guide and framework to guide the business operations. It will also make it easy for you to work along, and should you need funding, it will act as a guide for anyone willing to invest in how you plan to run and how profitable your juice bar is likely to be.
3. Decide On The Best Legal Structure For Your Juice Bar
One of the major decisions that will shape how your juice bar will run and the nature it will take is the legal structure you decide to give it. By “legal structure,” I mean the business structure you decide to adopt or register your business as. This decision needs to be taken cautiously, as it will determine a lot of things, such as the kind of rates/ taxes you will be eligible to pay.
The two most popular business types you need to consider are sole proprietorships and limited liability companies (LLCs).
With sole proprietorships, you are setting up your business to be identical to you; however, if you are looking to make the business a separate legal entity on its own, then a Limited Liability Company is what you should be thinking of registering.
It is also important to note that LLCs are the more popular option for most retailers and could be your best bet. However, you should weigh the pros and cons of each and decide on the one that you feel works best for you and the new business you are setting up.
4. Source For Funding For Your Juice Bar Business
After settling the issue of business registration and getting recognized as a legal business entity, the next thing you want to tackle is finances. You need to decide where the financing for your juice bar will come from. The two major options open are personal finance and securing a loan.
You probably have this all figured out already, as you have savings you are banking on to use in kicking off the business. But if this option isn’t available, then you can consider securing a business loan from one of the available financial institutions around you. Your written business plan will come in handy here as such institutions want to see tangible evidence and projections that shows that this is a good and viable business they should invest in. Below are other sources of finance you can consider for your juice bar business:
- Startup business grants
- A business line of credit
- Equipment financing for the juice bar kitchen
- SBA Microloans for small-businesses
5. Decide On Location
The location of your business can either make or break its success. It is that powerful. This is why you have to, as such, think critically and do proper investigation before settling on a location. Here are some things you need to consider when looking for a location for your juice bar.
- Accessibility: How accessible is the location? Is it centrally located within street corners or hotspots with plenty of human traffic? You must choose a location that is central and easily accessible by your target customers.
- Consider your competitors: By carefully considering your competitors’ location, you can come up with an ideal location for your juice bar. You need to consider what support being close to these could provide your business or if being well distanced from such is what will work best for your business.
- Consider high traffic areas: A key ingredient to a successful business is a high volume rate of customers. You must ensure that the location you settle for is one in which there is a high rate of human traffic. To get this, you should naturally consider sidewalks, pedestrian-friendly areas, central areas and city centers.
- Consider the cost of doing business: When considering a location, you should also put into consideration the cost of rentals and doing business in each location. While you want to get the best location, you also want to balance out getting a place that is not too expensive for a startup. You will need to weigh these two angles well enough and choose a location that is prime and at the same time does not bore a hole in your pocket to start with.
- Consider locations close to your target market: For a juice bar, you should naturally be targeting areas with a good number of your target market. Schools, fitness gyms are some areas you may want to target in order to be strategically close to likely customers.
Once you have secured a location, there are some things you need to consider as you set up the bar. For one, a juice bar is slightly different from a regular restaurant and, as such, comes with its own peculiarities. Here are some things you need to address:
- The health code requirements for commercial kitchens
- The plumbing, electrical, and ventilation required for juicing areas
- How to properly store food and fruits and dispose of waste
- Sanitation strategy for your juice bar
6. Secure Necessary Restaurants Permits And Licenses
Once you have sorted out the issue of location, the next thing you want to address is securing the necessary licenses and permits your business needs to run legitimately. One thing you don’t want to start off with is getting on the wrong side of the law.
As a matter of importance, you must ensure you get all your paperwork done and done right. While applying for all of these licenses can involve a lot of paperwork, it is nonetheless necessary, and the earlier you start with it, the better it will be for your business. Below are some of the permits and license you should obtain for your juice bar business in the United States:
- Sign permit
- Foodservice license
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Food handler’s permit
- Seller’s permit
- Valet parking permit
- Food truck permit
- Building health permit
- Liquor license
- Live entertainment and music license
- Resale permit
- Sales tax license
- Dumpster placement permit
Since not all of these permits will specifically apply since each state has its own peculiar set of requirements and permissions, you need to check to see which ones apply in the specific state in which you intend to operate and then go ahead and secure them.
7. Get Necessary Equipment And Suppliers
Now, you are done with getting all the necessary permits as required by your immediate area of operation. You are gradually moving closer to the great day when you launch your juice bar. But first, you must get the necessary equipment you will need to run a smooth operation in your juice bar.
Along with getting the necessary equipment, you also need to establish a line of consistent supplies of items like fruits which are a core ingredient needed in a juice bar.
In sourcing for your fruit suppliers, there are certain things you should put into consideration. Some of these include:
Some equipment you need are:
- Blenders: Needed for blending fruits
- Cutters: Chef knives, peelers, cutting boards etc
- Cutting boards
- Ice machines: To produce ice cubes for bottled juices
- Refrigerators: To store your fruits, bowls and cups of smoothies and juices
- Cups, bowls, straws: To serve juices and smoothies
- A good point of sale: To facilitate and ensure smooth processing of payments
- Scales and measuring equipment
- Napkins and utensils
8. Get A Good Juice Bar POS
One of the critical pieces of equipment you need to successfully run your juice bar is a good point of sale solution. This is because a POS system will help to ensure that you seamlessly process and collect payments from your customers. There would be no need to engage in a business simply to run it at a loss. A good point of sale solution will help ensure this does not happen.
The best POS for juice bar I recommend is Clover POS. This is because Clover POS is a robust and user friendly point of sale system that comes with a wide array of features and hardware options for small businesses. It is hugely customizable, and as such, juice bar owners can adapt it to fit their specific use cases and needs.
Clover POS comes with a robust inventory management system, a payment processor, and loyalty programs capabilities to help you manage and retain your customers.
Here are juice bar specific features of Clover POS:
Highly customizable: Since it is customizable, you can easily tweak it to fit your needs as a juice bar.
Low stock notification: Clover POS provides you with notifications to alert you when your stock is running low. With this, you can ensure that you never run out of stocks and get to replenish on time.
Online ordering: Clover POS comes with the option of online ordering, which lets your customers order their fruit juice virtually without having to come physically to your store. If what you are looking to create is a largely virtual juice bar or just a window type juice bar, then you want to offer online ordering to your customers, and as such Clover POS comes out on top in the list of POS options you need to consider.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Clover POS?
- It is easy to use
- Offers a wide variety of features
- Its hardware is expensive especially for small business owners
- Customer support has been noted to be irregular
How Much Does Clover POS Cost?
Clover POS has two pricing plans: Register Lite and Register. Register Lite costs $9.95 per month, while Register costs $39.95.
You can click here to get a free quote from Clover POS, or you can read more on Best Juice Bar POS Software | Reviews & Buyer’s Guide.
9. Decide On Your Juice Bar Branding, Advertising and Marketing Strategy
Now this is the creative part, and possibly one of the easiest sections on the journey to setting up your juice bar. This is where you breathe in your personality and touch into the look and feel of your juice bar, and communicate the same to individuals and customers who approach and patronize your bar.
In developing your branding, you need to critically examine what will set your brand apart from the rest of the pack. In a crowded environment and with so many other juice bars already competing for market share, you need to ask yourself a salient question, what will make my brand stand out? Providing answers to this, will ensure that you develop a compelling brand persona and message that will attract customers and make them love your brand.
Some of the questions you should ask yourself in order to come up with an appropriate branding and marketing strategy are:
- How much am I willing to spend on branding?
- What makes my juice bar special?
- What is the compelling message I am passing across to my customers?
- Where is my target audience located, and how do they spend their time?
10. Hire Your Juice Bar Employees
At this stage, you have developed your brand and decided on a marketing strategy. You have also settled down on equipment, dealt with the issue of registrations and permits, and are almost ready to go. But there is just one more thing.
Since you most probably will not be running the business all alone or do not even intend to take part in the critical day to day running, you need to now consider getting the right employees that will manage the outfit while you provide managerial direction.
Labor costs for juice bars are relatively lower when compared with other food service types, and as such, it will be easier for you to start up. What you however should do is ensure that you hire just the right amount of staff for the level at which your business is. Do not over hire or under hire.
11. Decide On Your Juice Bar Menu
After all is said and done, you are now ready to launch your juice bar. One thing that is left, however, is for you to decide on your juice bar menu. A juice bar offerings are often simple and depending on your specific offerings it may include fruits, vegetables, milks, seeds, along with other proteins
You must ensure that your offering is unique and stands out, and here is where you need to get creative and add the personal touch. You should look at offering healthy juice blends and smoothies and combos that are unique and stand out. Popular offerings by juice bars include yogurt parfaits, salads, carrot based juices, green blend juices with spinach, apple, kale etc, citrus blends, lemon, and sandwiches.
Along with this, you should then have a unique and appealing menu setup to display your menu items to your customers. This should be part of your marketing and advertising strategies to draw in and make your spot very inviting to potential customers.
12. Launch Your Juice & Smoothie Bar
After all is said and done, you are ready to launch your Juice bar or Juice & Smoothie bar. However, as against a full fledged launch, you might want to consider first a lite launch where you invite select groups of persons to come and try out your offerings. The aim of this is to first have walking ambassadors and foot soldiers who will go out and talk about your bar thus spreading the word further within their own community and family.
How Much Does It Cost to Open a Juice Bar?
Given the fact that there are many factors to consider and different types of setups of juice bars, the average cost of setting up a juice bar ranges between $10,000 and $25,000.
According to IBISWorld, the highest percentage of cost for juice bars goes to wages, purchases, and rent.
In 2022, juice and smoothie bars in the US witnessed a growth of 5.2% and have an annualized growth of 3.9 % between 2017 and 2022. This shows an impressive and consistent demand and growth rate.
Is Owning A Juice Bar Profitable?
Owning a juice bar is most certainly profitable. It has been within the last couple of years, and outlook shows that this is expected to continue even into several years to come.
Revenue for juice bars is expected to rise as the industry evolves with consumer preferences. With the total number of juice bars put at 6, 614 and counting and a market size of $3 billion, the market is one with a lot of opportunities for the next foreseeable future.
The juice bar industry (which consists of makers of smoothies and fresh-made juices has consistently remained profitable over the last five years up to 2022 as consumer preferences have resulted in an increase in spending on industry products due to higher disposable incomes and confidence regarding the economy’s outlook. This has, however, necessitated that juice bar operators also innovatively increase their product offerings as there is greater demand for unpasteurized vegetable juices.
Another interesting factor to take note of is that the Juice and Smoothie Bars industry which basically entails offering smoothies, juices, fruit bowls and small bites and other items has a low level of capital intensity, in other words it is a low barrier entry industry. It is estimated that for every dollar spent on labor, the average operator allocates $0.13 towards defraying it.
Juice Bar Franchise Options
When setting out to establish your juice bar, one option that you can consider is the franchise option. This is a probably faster route to market domination since you will be leveraging on the popularity and acceptability of whichever brand you decide to adopt. Instead of building your own brand from scratch, you can leverage the appeal already gained by the top brands in the industry and simply grow your own customer base within your existing operational base. Some popular juice bar franchises you can consider are:
- Smoothie King: Costs $263,550 – $844,485 with 6% royalty fees
- Tropical Smoothie Cafe: Initial Investment cost is $222,095 – $569,335, franchise fee: $30,000 and 6% royalty fees
- Nekter Juice Bar: Initial investment is between $211,500 – $462,600 with 6% royalty fee
- Jamba Juice: Initial investment is between $238,600 – $504,300 with 6% royalty fee
- Maui Wowi: Initial investment fee is between $76,400 – $569,000 and initial franchise fee between $42,500 – $65,000
- Planet Smoothie: Initial investment is between $190,150 – $358,500 with royalty fee of 5%
Running a juice bar is an extremely profitable business with a low entry barrier, making it somewhat easy to set up, especially when compared to other restaurant based outfits. In this review, I have detailed all the necessary steps you need to take when you want to set one up. I have also highlighted the option of going the route of adopting a franchise brand, which is an easier route to market penetration.
How do I start a small juice business?
The necessary steps you need to take in setting up a small juice business have been detailed in this review. The first five steps you must go through to set up a juice bar include:
- Understanding how the juice bar industry works
- Developing a juice bar business plan
- Choosing a legal structure and registering your business
- Source for funding for your juice bar business
- Decide on location
Will juice bars be successful in the future?
The potential of juice & smoothie bars in the US is a bright one as indicators point to an increasing demand among the public. Data shows that consumers will have a higher disposable income and as such will embrace the concept of healthy eating more even in the coming years.
Can I sell juices from home?
Starting a juice business from home is a great way to start off especially if its something you are passionate about. It will also save you a good deal of cash which hitherto should go into leasing out a location and other costs associated with setting up a full fledged juice bar.
Where is the best place to sell juice?
Great location spots you should consider for your juice bar include roadside stands, shopping mall, food courts, and other high volume human traffic locations.
How do I market my juice bar?
Here are a few marketing ideas to adopt in promoting your juice bar:
- Offer freebies
- Use the power of discounts
- Reward consistent customers