The Untold Truth Of Smoothie King

Introduction

When you want a nice, filling, and refreshing beverage, smoothies that are the perfect way to get your fill of nutrients and antioxidants. Not only are they a convenient way to have your breakfast, but smoothies are often much healthier than a sugary caffeinated drink or pastry from Krispy Kreme (Though on a cheat day, we love a good donut). While it's not the most laborious task to cut up and prepare your own fruits and vegetables at home and pop them in a blender, some days, you just don't have time to put a smoothie together yourself or run to multiple stores to find all of the best ingredients.

Fortunately, for busy people and all smoothie lovers alike, there are many chains across the country that offer quick and satisfying smoothie drinks for all to enjoy, and the most well-known might be Smoothie King. With a wide range of vegetable and fruit smoothies, there's something for everyone at this chain. Beyond all of the fruity and flavorful smoothies, however, there is a lot that you might not know about Smoothie King. If you're a fan of this popular smoothie chain and want to learn a bit more about the brand, here are the untold truths of Smoothie King.

The founder started making smoothies because of his food allergies

When the founder of Smoothie King began his smoothie pursuit, he did so partially out of a love for blending smoothies, but also for another reason that was a little more out of the ordinary.

The first Smoothie King Juice Bar was founded by Steve Kuhnau in 1973, though he had been experimenting with blending smoothies well before he established the restaurant. He initially made smoothies at home out of necessity. Kuhnau had more reasons to play around with smoothies than just pure passion. He had numerous food allergies that prevented him from consuming certain ingredients sometimes found in sweet drinks, such as dairy. His allergies made Kuhnau feel left out when his peers went out for milkshakes (via Grey Journal). Because of this, Kuhnau began to experiment with different smoothies, mixing together fruits and other ingredients in a blender to make sweet treats. He fed his smoothies to the patients he treated in his job as a nurse and then opened a health food store and smoothie shop in Kenner, Louisiana.

That first Smoothie King was the only location until the first franchise opened in 1989. From there, the company developed into the chain that we know and love today.

Smoothie King fired an employee for alleged racism towards thier customers

No restaurant chain can totally avoid controversy or a having couple of scandals. Smoothie King is no exception to this, and while the smoothies it sells might be sweet, this incident was not. On March 22, 2022, in a Smoothie King located in Conroe, Texas, an employee was fired after writing a racist receipt for three customers who came in to order smoothies. According to a Houston news report, the employee wrote a racial slur on the receipt for three black teenagers' orders (via Click2Houston).

After this occurred, the employee that instigated the event was fired and the smoothie chain sent out a statement expressing that it would not tolerate racism of any kind from its employees (via ABC13). Furthermore, the owner of that particular Smoothie King claimed to have implemented retraining for their employees in order to try to prevent a similar event from happening in their store.

Smoothie King is the official smoothie of the Dallas Cowboys

When you think of sports drinks, the first beverages that come to mind might be protein shakes or Gatorade. While we wouldn't see a football or basketball star quickly gulping down a strawberry banana smoothie in the middle of a game, we could imagine that they would include a fresh morning smoothie as a part of their diet and routine. Smoothie King has recently become much more involved in the sports sphere than just serving smoothies to athletes or fans.

In 2021, Smoothie King dived into a partnership with the Dallas Cowboys, an NFL team, and became the official smoothie company of the team. The brands joined together in order to help promote health and fitness to football and smoothie fans alike. According to Wan Kim, the CEO of Smoothie King, the brand "admires the way the organization supports the health and fitness goals of their fans across the entire country the same way we support our fans at Smoothie King” (via Smoothie King). Upon the announcement of this 7-year partnership, Smoothie King released a limited edition blueberry-banana smoothie at select stores to celebrate its partnership with the football team.

Smoothie King is hoping to expand post-pandemic

Restaurants were hit hard by the pandemic, and many had to close their doors temporarily to keep both their employees and customers safe. As the world has adapted, many have begun to try to move past the lockdown. Despite the continuing environment of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Smoothie King actually increased its sales in 2021 and continued to open stores across the world (via QSR Magazine).

Smoothie King doesn't seem like it's planning to stop growing anytime soon. According to a March report from Business Insider, the CEO of the company, Wan Kim, has expressed that "With everything we have planned for this year — from new stores and technology advancements to new product launches — our franchise opportunities have never been stronger." The report says that the smoothie chain has signed agreements to open 51 new stores and expand past its 1300 locations around the globe.

Smoothie King uses a lot of spinach for its smoothies

Spinach isn't the most popular green with kids (or people who don't care for vegetables), but it's undeniably healthy. According to Healthline, Spinach is low in calories but high in insoluble fiber, which helps with digestion, making it an incredibly healthy addition to any smoothie you make for your morning meal. Smoothie King knows this, and many of the chain's smoothies feature spinach

The fact that some Smoothie King menu items contain spinach isn't particularly shocking. What might come as a surprise, however, is just how much spinach the chain uses for its drinks. According to a Twitter post from the Smoothie King chain, the company uses over 600,000 lbs. of organic spinach every year. Even if spinach isn't something you enjoy, you've got to be impressed by those numbers, especially since one pound of spinach equates to two big bundles of the vegetable (via The Kitchn).

The Smoothie King crown isn't just a crown

A brand's logo is what makes it stick out, and few can say that they don't recognize the two golden arches that make up the McDonald's logo, the green mermaid of the Starbuck's logo, or the cheeky, smiling young mascot of Wendy's. The old Smoothie King logo used to be the chain's name, "Smoothie King," in a bright red color, with a green crown over the "I" in "King." (via WGNO). The newer logo still has a crown — though it's been updated to have a more modern look. The logo now consists of three red arches that form a crown alongside text that reads "Smoothie King."

Though on the surface, the Smoothie King logo may seem to be just a simple crown, it has another layer of meaning. According to Smoothie King's Our Story page, the crown's three large points actually represent three people, reflecting the brand's commitment to community. You might notice a fourth point on the crown towards the right, which Smoothie King explains is the third person holding their hand out for someone else to take.

There are claims that some of the fruit comes in cans

When you make a smoothie at home, you can make it with the freshest fruits and vegetables that you've got in your fridge. When it comes to Smoothie King, you would hope that your smoothies would be made out of the freshest fruits and vegetables, but there are some who claim to have worked at the smoothie chain and say Smoothie King's fruits aren't exactly farm-fresh.

A user on Reddit who claimed to be an ex-Smoothie King employee held an AMA (Ask Me Anything) to answer the questions other users had about the smoothie franchise. The top question on the thread was about the quality of the fruits used in the smoothies. The former Smoothie King employee responded that while real fruit is used, some of the fruits, most notably the peaches and pineapples, came in large cans, while the strawberries were frozen. Even though we don't expect every Smoothie King to have the freshest fruits, it might be a little surprising to hear that they use canned food for their smoothies.

There is an entire stadium named after the smoothie chain

When you have a building, ice rink, or an entire stadium named after you, then you know that you've made it pretty far. While many stadiums are named after people, there are loads of other arenas that are named after brands that sponsored the buildings. Anyone who lives in New Orleans, Louisiana likely knows the name of the giant stadium their basketball team plays their home games in — the Smoothie King Center.

The Smoothie King Center was unveiled in 2014 and not only houses New Orleans Pelicans basketball games but also hosts events and performances by popular music artists (via Smoothie King Center). The center also contains various food and drink concession stands to grab a bite from — which of course, includes Smoothie King. In fact, by taking a quick look at the food and beverage options that the stadium has, you'll notice that there aren't one, but two Smoothie Kings to get a fresh smoothie from while you enjoy a show.

The Hulk smoothie was created by the founder to help a neighbor get healthy during chemotherapy

When many people drink smoothies, they do so for a multitude of reasons. Some do it to lose weight, others do it to energize themselves during a long, busy day, and some people do it just because they like the taste. If you are someone looking to lose a bit of weight, you have to be careful when you order a smoothie from a restaurant, as they can contain more calories than you would expect. 

One example of this on Smoothie King's menu is The Hulk, a drink that doesn't necessarily fit the low-calorie label that many athletes and smoothie fans look for. A large smoothie of this flavor has 195 grams of sugar in it, which might be a turn-off to some, and you may wonder why such a sugary beverage would be on the menu of a health-focused chain. In reality, according to an interview with the chain's CEO, Steve Kuhnau created the drink because one of his neighbors had undergone chemotherapy and had lost a lot of weight that she needed to put back on. So while this smoothie might not help you lose weight, it still has a pretty healthy and heartfelt story behind its creation.