Robeks’ Senior Director of Franchise Development has 30 years experience in the franchise industry and is excited about the smoothie franchise
Victor “Vic” DeSio has worked in franchising for most of his adult life and has overseen or been part of some iconic franchise brands. He was heavily involved with Mail Boxes Etc. and Jenny Craig and understands what it takes to scale a large, national franchise system.
Vic joined Robeks Fresh Juices & Smoothies to head up their development department and is leading their efforts to seek new franchise owners. Vic is a former franchisee, and understands what it means to make an investment in a business like Robeks. He’s focused on recruiting Franchise Owners who are a great fit and who will thrive operating Robeks locations.
Vic recently spoke about why he is excited to be a part of an organization that has a continual commitment to quality, and why he believes the brand is positioned to grow in the years ahead:
How did you wind up making the franchising business your career?
I was thrust into the franchising industry when I was a senior in high school. My family was involved in the startup of Mail Boxes Etc. My uncle was one of the co-founders, and he and my dad owned two of the first MBE locations, which is where I cut my teeth in franchising. I spent a lot of time working behind the counter at the family business. That’s where I learned about the operations and support side of MBE. They eventually sold the businesses when I was in college. After graduating, I came back to MBE corporate. My first job upon returning was to help develop the national accounts program, which we knew was going to be one of the big differentiators in that space. We were coming up on 1,000 locations and that really provided the brick and mortar presence the program needed. Once the program was launched, I migrated over to operations and profit-center development.
Then the time finally came for my uncle and dad to retire. The company was being sold, and the long term career opportunity wasn’t there. I had a great run with MBE with great exposure for someone my age.
I’ve been on all sides of this business. I’ve been a franchisee, working directly with customers, cleaned the bathrooms, and passed out fliers on the street. I know what the franchisee side of life is like. On the corporate operations and support side, I’ve learned about all of the things that go into building sustainable growth and profitability.
Of course I bring that experience and perspective to my role in development. It’s important to us at Robeks that we’re bringing folks into the system who have a higher propensity to do well. We’re not thinking about a sale, we’re thinking about whether the candidate is a good fit and if they will be happy and productive.
What attracted you to the Robeks smoothie franchise?
In the interviewing process, it was immediately clear that the culture of the organization is one of character and quality. Robeks is about being best in class.
On the consumer side, it’s the continual dedication and commitment to the quality of our smoothies and juices. That is the fundamental origin of our product. When our founder, Dave Robertson opened Robeks in 1996, he was looking for a smoothie option that was healthful, nutritious, and tasted good. He started making smoothies at home and ended up with 30 locations in a few short years. He understood that people really wanted an authentic, high-quality smoothie that tasted good — but there was nowhere to get them. He was smart to have the vision for making that same high-quality smoothie much more convenient and accessible. Stand in one of our stores today, and you’ll see a steady stream of people coming in at all hours of the day; it’s proof that his vision was spot-on.
We’ve never lost sight of that original vision. The commitment and dedication to maintaining the quality of our products has ultimately positioned us as a premium product in our category.
Who are the Robeks core customers? Why do they choose Robeks over their competitors?
Our core group of customers are health-minded people who have become juice and smoothie enthusiasts. They know what goes into their smoothies because our products are part of their diet and nutritional program. With repeat customers, we have found that the more they know about our products the more they like and want them.
When we conducted a focus groups that included competitors’ customers. Many said, “We like your products better and can’t wait until you open a store in my neighborhood so I don’t have to go so far out of my way to get a Robeks.” So we’re working on opening more stores to serve them better.
That our products are utilized by people for dietary and nutritional reasons is one of the biggest benefits and most rewarding aspects of our business. Our customers enjoy the cool, refreshing taste of the drinks we prepare in the blender during the heat of the summer, and in the winter they gravitate more toward the freshly squeezed juices we serve.
Why should someone invest in a Robeks franchise?
The smoothie market is growing in a fashion that favors Robeks from a positioning standpoint. Everyone is more and more concerned about nutrition and authentic, genuine nutritional guidance, and that is what our Robeks smoothie franchise stores provide for our customers. From a convenience standpoint, more and more people are looking for grab-and-go options that are healthier than fast food.
We think we have the best product out there. Another important factor, one our customers call to our attention, is that we have very knowledgeable team members at the front counter. This is important because customers have unique needs based on their health and wellness concerns and often ask questions about ingredients and how items can be customized to their dietary needs and preferences.
How does Robeks compare to its direct competitors?
There’s no comparison. Our commitment to the integrity of our products is second to none, and we are absolutely on the cutting edge of menu innovation. We are very focused on providing Robeks franchise owners with the training needed to make sure they and their staff are knowledgeable about our products, so that they can effectively guide our customers to making the best choices among our products.
If you are really passionate about helping people live healthier lives, a Robeks franchise is great business opportunity for you. We believe we are head and shoulders ahead of our direct competitors, and with a Robeks you get the best of a high-performance smoothie shop with an authentic juice bar. It’s the best of both worlds and one of the reasons we are growing, adding new franchisees and locations, and increasing our same-store sales.
Don’t take my word for it – visit one of our stores, try our products, and see how much customers love us. Then take a look at our competitors and try their products. You’ll see the difference for yourself.
Who makes a good Robeks franchise owner?
We look for people with management experience: especially people who have managed people, time, and money. You don’t have to be in food operations, although a food operations background is helpful. We look for people with outgoing personalities, who are not going to be afraid of going out into their community. We’re looking for franchisees who want to be fully engaged in the business, community leaders who grow quickly into multi-unit operators with three or more shops that they oversee on a full-time basis. We want people working on the business, not just in the business.
Learn more about Robeks