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Juice bars in clubs can be successful. But, it may be a challenge to know how to get your juice bar to ripen, instead of rot.
Matt Schultz, the vice president of franchise operations at Retro Fitness, said from the beginning he noticed the atmosphere at the front counter was conducive to people buying things. However, the products sold at the RetroBlends Smoothie Bars just weren’t working.
Schultz said they first tried the fresh fruit route. But fresh fruit was expensive and the health codes were a hassle. So Schultz said they found a new avenue. “We went away from the fresh fruit-type thing and went with a fresh fruit puree, and the company we’re with currently,” which is The Smoothie Company, he said. “It made it more conducive, quicker and it made it less expensive for the member, adding to the experience at the front desk we had already.”
RetroBlends offers smoothies of various flavors, but mostly of different types of fruit. Schultz made sure to point out they call drinks smoothies and not shakes. He said due to the reputation shakes had when they first came out, it’s less intimidating to call the drinks smoothies. “We don’t want to scare everybody,” said Schultz. “Now [the smoothie business] is totally different. It’s a totally different business. It needs to be treated as such.”
Members are also invited to take part in the experience of the juice bar. But Schultz said they first have to get the members there. Retro does this in a couple of ways: through samples and coupons. “If members don’t know what your smoothies taste like, they don’t know,” said Schultz. “To break that ice, it’s always good to do a sample smoothie and walk out on the floor with it and introduce it. You have to do those types of things and treat it differently than you typically have treated it seven, eight years ago in this industry.”
Once members get a taste of what your juice bar has to offer, Schultz said they will be more willing to spend time and money at it. “That’s what gets those people up front to start enjoying that atmosphere you’re trying to create,” said Schultz. “What we tell our owners is, nothing sells itself. You have to sell it. It doesn’t matter what it is.”
The biggest mistake gyms can make when it comes to juice bars? “There’s nobody trying to get you to go to the juice bar,” said Schultz. “People hope that people go there.”
Schultz also emphasized product education and its importance. “[Customers] have to know why they’re drinking it, not just ‘because,’” he said. “A very simple, easy explanation; somebody doesn’t want to hear a medical explanation for it.”
A gym can make all of this happen, but if the juice bar’s vibe is off, it won’t thrive. “You have to have energy at the front desk,” said Schultz. “So that’s what I was talking about before: the right employees, the right things on TV, the right music at the right levels. All that’s part of the energy.”
Juice bars can be more than just a benefit to your bottom line. They can provide your members with post-workout fuel, a healthy snack and an energetic and enjoyable location within your facility. How is your juice bar existing in your club?
By Heather Hartmann