Amenities that generate more revenue for your facility and deliver added value for your members are essential for success. A food and beverage service, especially a smoothie bar, is perfect for checking both boxes as a viable profit center and valuable commodity for members.
The Wave Aquatic and Fitness Center in Whitefish, Montana, has its own branded food and beverage service: the Whitefish Juice Company.
“We branded several of our profit centers independently of our main brand in an effort to bring awareness to those areas,” explained Art Krueger, the director of The Wave. “The idea was fairly simple — our facility is a fitness mall, and we have several shops within this mall that serve various products. The Whitefish Juice Company is the food and beverage option.”
Delivering a more convenient refueling experience for members was the main motivation behind integrating a food and beverage service at The Wave.
“We like to offer healthy options for members so they can conveniently refuel and get on with their busy day,” said Krueger. “Most of our drinks have fresh fruits and vegetables in them, making it a little easier for our patrons to meet their daily intake of nutrients.”
Among the many popular services at The Wave, the smoothie bar is a fan favorite. “Smoothies and fresh juice are by far the most popular,” said Krueger. “We have limited food options, since we do not have a kitchen.”
If you’re considering adding or expanding a food and beverage service at your facility, Krueger’s best piece of advice is simple: offer what your members want. This could take some trial and error, but identifying the bestsellers and putting them on the menu is a good strategy for success.
When it’s stocked with popular menu items, a smoothie bar — or any other food and beverage service — will draw members in and possibly drive more interest in other related services.
According to Krueger, the popularity of the smoothie bar has benefitted the facility’s entire food and beverage operation. “Since we’ve started offering our fresh juice, the purchasing of other items on our menu has increased, leading to a nice boost in non-dues revenue,” he explained.
Krueger has also found it beneficial to hire a food and beverage manager. “Find someone with a food and beverage background who can help you create a good business plan,” he said. “Oftentimes, there is a lot of waste, even in making smoothies and juices. A knowledgeable person can help you navigate those waters.”
When executed correctly — with an experienced manager to run the program, as well as the popular menu items members want — a smoothie bar, or any other food and beverage service, can function as a viable profit center.