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From The Beach To The Boulevards, And Beyond.

What began as a single location on a beach in Destin, Florida has grown to be a lifestyle brand for people looking for healthy alternatives to fast food. Every day, we serve up great-tasting, nutritious food and smoothies at more than 800 locations in the U.S., with more in development. Here are some highlights of our history and incredible growth.


We open in Destin, FL, serving real-fruit smoothies.


Our first franchise opens in Tallahassee, FL.


We expand our menu with healthy food options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. To reflect our new menu items, we rebrand to become Tropical Smoothie Cafe.


We update the environment of our Cafes to reflect a tropical vacation.


We open our 200th Cafe in Virginia Beach, VA.


We celebrate our 10-year anniversary and start our own holiday – National Flip Flop Day!


We open our 300th Cafe in Fort Myers, FL.


Buckhead Investment Partners acquires controlling interest in Tropical Smoothie Cafe.


We launch our new store prototype and new logo, and we open our 400th location in Toledo, OH.


We open our 500th location in Westland, MI.


We open our 600th location in Joplin, MO.


We open our 700th location in Hurst, TX.


Today, customers continue to fall in love with the Tropical Smoothie Cafe experience as we expand into more than 44 states.

Photos of Tropical Smoothie Cafe's History


Our Franchise Owners were successful business people who saw the incredible potential of Tropical Smoothie Cafe and jumped at the chance to join us!

Our Team of Seasoned Franchise Experts.

Experience our play-to-win philosophy, delivered by our leadership team and backed by the strength of our investment group, Buckhead Investment Partners.

Charles Watson

Charles Watson


Charles Watson was named CEO in December 2018. In this role, he is responsible for the brand’s strategic vision and overall franchise performance. He was previously Tropical Smoothie Cafe's Chief Development Officer since 2016 after serving as VP of Franchise Development since 2010. In these roles, Charles was responsible for all development of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand. A veteran hospitality professional, Charles has worked for several hospitality-related companies, including Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Intercontinental Hotels Group, US Franchise Systems, Inc. and Hospitality Real Estate Counselors. Charles is a graduate of The Hotel School at Cornell University and also holds a Masters of Business Administration from The Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia.

Paul Marsden

Chief Financial Officer

Paul Marsden oversees development and execution of financial strategies to support the company’s business plans. With extensive experience in the food service industry, Paul comes to Tropical Smoothie Cafe from Popeyes, where he served as the Chief Accounting Officer and spent nearly two decades working in the brand’s financial and accounting departments.

Michael Lapid, Chief Information and Digital Officer

Michael Lapid

Chief Information and Digital Officer

Michael Lapid joined Tropical Smoothie Cafe in October of 2019 in a newly created role of Chief Information and Digital Officer. Michael brings 20 years of foundational IT skills and core functions of digital knowledge critical to shaping our journey to reach guests via innovative technologies to this role. Previously with Papa John’s International as the Vice President, Global Digital Technology, Lapid is a seasoned technology executive with vast engineering and operations expertise, leadership, and a deep understanding of digital technology and guest experiences. At the start of his career, Lapid’s ambitious spirit led him to develop a point of sale system, Hot Sauce.

Mark Montini, Chief Marketing Officer

Mark Montini

Chief Marketing Officer

Mark Montini joined Tropical Smoothie Cafe as Chief Marketing Officer in October 2019. In this role, Mark leads brand, marketing, product, and digital innovations – core functions of delivering the remarkable guest experience that drives Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s success. Prior to Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Mark served as Chief Marketing Officer with Floor Coverings International where he was responsible for driving the brand’s digital transformation and leadership position in service-based franchising. Early in his career, Mark served the franchise industry as a supplier, delivering innovative technology-enabled marketing strategies to help emerging franchise concepts rapidly scale and grow revenue through local-level marketing and sales. Mark serves on the board of the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives.

Cheryl Fletcher

Senior Vice President of Franchise Development

In her new role at Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Cheryl Fletcher is responsible for driving the brand’s franchise development efforts through real estate analytics and strategic market planning. Previously, Cheryl held a 17-year tenure with Popeyes, during which she served as Vice President of Franchise Development, Vice President of Development Strategic Planning and Director of Investor Relations and Finance.

Richard Key

Senior Vice President of Operations

Richard Key serves as the Senior Vice President of Operations & Training, responsible for overseeing the operations team and its support and training of the Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise community. Richard has served in a franchise operations capacity for more than 20 years with brands such as TCBY, Carvel, and Moe’s Southwest Grill. Most recently, Richard was the Vice President of Operations, West Division, for Papa Murphy’s International where he was responsible for field operations and marketing.

Pete Ward

General Counsel

Pete Ward advises Tropical Smoothie Cafe on all legal and business matters, including franchising, real estate, labor and employment, litigation, intellectual property, licensing and other commercial matters. Most recently, Pete served as the Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance/Risk Officer at Popeyes for over 10 years and has extensive experience handling corporate transactions, both in-house and in private practice.

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe Franchise Owner.

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