Tropical Smoothie CEO Sets The Record Straight About Smoothies - Exclusive

Charles Watson, CEO of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe chain, wants to make a few things clear about smoothies. "It's not at all a Slurpee, it's absolutely whole real fruit, ice, water, very basic items. [They're] all-natural and fresh," Watson told Mashed during an exclusive interview.

So if you're looking for a sugar rush, look somewhere else. If you're looking for a tasty way to get a day's worth of myriad vitamins and minerals and with some fiber and protein thrown in, then, by all means, stop by a Tropical Smoothie Cafe location. You won't find pre-made smoothies waiting to be thawed. Rather, you will see the employees create your tasty, nutritious drink made to order. Thus while a smoothie is a treat, it's also a completely viable way to get your daily recommended intake of fruit (and in some cases, veggies, too).

And Watson encourages you to come on by for that boost at any time of day, too, because there's another misconception he wants to do away with. "Smoothies are [for] anytime, they're not just a breakfast day part," he said. "They're not just a snack day part. I think they can be used throughout the day and utilized in guests' diets."

At Tropical Smoothie Cafe, it's your call what's in the smoothie

"And another misconception," Tropical Smooth Cafe's Charles Watson added, "Whether you think [a smoothie is] uber-healthy or not so healthy, is that ... the guests have all the choice in the world. We can make you any smoothie that you like with our whole ingredients and you can mix and match as you see fit. Yes, we have some great products on our menu that we've crafted, but you can go off-script. And I don't think enough people know that you can go off-script to substitute or to take out [ingredients]."

In other words, if you want a smoothie with chocolate and coconut and peanut butter added, you can have that. Or if you want one with added whey protein, spinach, and kale, you can do that, too. And Watson gets it can be hard to choose, saying: "We've got everything right from Island Green Detox, with zero sugar, and ginger, and everything, [but] I have a little bit sweeter palate. So I would say our Island Green Detox is not my go-to, but I understand that should be my go-to from a health perspective. So I actually see myself very much like our consumer who wants to make better choices, but you know what? Sometimes you've just got to go with the taste."

Also, one can be forgiven for assuming the only food Tropical Smoothie Cafe offers consists of smoothies, but in fact, the "cafe" part of the name is the operative. Charles Watson wants people to know that not only does the chain offer Bahama Mamas and Watermelon Mojitos, but they also have "high quality food." "It's not just, 'We have snacks,'" Watson said. "We have a full-on robust kitchen that's preparing fresh products."

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