LAS VEGAS – The International Franchise Association (IFA) recently named Ray and Andrew Howell, owners of 19 Tropical Smoothie Cafe locations in Florida, as 2023 Franchisees of the Year. The Howells were honored at the 63rd IFA Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, for being outstanding owner-operators.
This is the Howells first time receiving IFA’s Franchisee of the Year award as a pair, while Ray previously won for his work with Meineke Car Care in 2007. The pair also received the Franchisee of the Year award at the annual Tropical Smoothie Cafe convention in 2018, both notable achievements within the franchising space.
In recent years, the Howells have dedicated their time to giving back to their Florida community. This includes partnering with the Tommy Bohanon Youth Football Camp, where the Howells personally ensure that each of the 250 children in attendance are fed for the day, as well as joining forces with Baby DJ, a local fundraiser run by prominent Orlando radio host Johnny Magic, aimed at helping parents afford gifts for their children during the holiday season. As just two of the many initiatives in place to help better their community, the Howell family has made giving back a pillar in their daily operations.
“Franchisee of the Year recipients represent the best in franchising,” said Matthew Haller, president and CEO of the International Franchise Association. “This is the highest honor IFA awards to individual franchisees, and local business owners like Ray and Andrew exemplify the power of franchising and its positive contributions to communities around the world.”
The Franchisee of the Year Award, sponsored by IFA’s partner Paychex, recognizes leading franchise owners from IFA member brands whose outstanding performance and contributions help protect, enhance, and promote the franchise business model. Nominated by the brand’s corporate team, individuals are selected for their service to their communities, fostering a strong and vibrant workforce, opening the doors for career growth and entrepreneurship, and supporting their fellow franchisees.
“I’ve spent the last 25 years dedicating my career to the franchising space, and I couldn’t be prouder of what my son, Andrew, and myself have accomplished,” said Howell. “Growing alongside the Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand has been wonderful, and the support we’ve received from their team has only further cemented our love for the brand. It’s an honor to be recognized for our growth and dedication, and we look forward to many years of continued success together.”
Interested Tropical Smoothie Cafe franchise candidates should have business experience, along with a minimum net worth of $350,000, which includes $125,000 in liquid assets. Candidates who meet these preliminary qualifications will need to make an initial investment ranging between $277,000 – $584,000.
About Tropical Smoothie Cafe®
Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a national fast-casual cafe concept inspiring a healthier lifestyle with more than 1,175 locations nationwide. For 25 years, the brand has been serving better-for-you smoothies, wraps, sandwiches and flatbreads. Tropical Smoothie Cafe also offers upgraded app technology and enhanced mobile ordering capabilities to further elevate the digital and dine-in cafe experience and emphasize the brand’s focus on convenience. The rapidly growing franchise has received numerous accolades, including a top 10 ranking in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500. It has also been named to Forbes’ Best Franchises list, and more recently Franchise Times’ Fast & Serious list and the Franchise Times Top 400 ranking. Notably, the franchise was also recognized on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers, Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 and Top 10 Fastest-Growing Chains, Restaurant Business’ America’s Favorite Chains, and was awarded the TOPSCORE Fund Award and a Fund Score of 910 by FRANdata in 2022.
*2022 Entrepreneur magazine “Franchise 500” rankings
About the International Franchise Association:
Celebrating over 60 years of excellence, education, and advocacy, the International Franchise Association (IFA) is the world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. IFA works through its government relations and public policy, media relations, and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising and the approximately 790,492 franchise establishments that support nearly 8.4 million direct jobs, $825.4 billion of economic output for the U.S. economy, and almost 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees, and companies that support the industry in marketing, law, technology, and business development.