Franchise growth played a role in Jamba Juice’s acquisition by Focus Brands Inc. in a deal valued at $200 million

2018 has been a fruitful one for RainTree and Jamba Juice. RainTree, a franchise development agency, helped the smoothie giant make major strides on the franchise growth side in 2018. Jamba Juice met its franchise development goals for 2018 within four months of going live with its franchise sales program, and the smoothie company was also acquired by Focus Brands in a deal valued at $200 million.

There were two major challenges for RainTree in terms of helping Jamba Juice grow. One was that the smoothie brand experienced slow growth in both 2016 and 2017, and only awarded a few new franchises in both years.

“Jamba Juice’s growth rate in the previous two years was minimal,” RainTree CEO Brent Dowling said. “They sought RainTree out as the best option available in the industry to remedy that for them.” He added that in addition to slow growth, there were very specific territory growth priorities, ruling out much of the country as possible new market targets.

RainTree plugged away, though, and created geo-targeted lead generation campaigns in key markets, Dowling said.

“Jamba Juice is an iconic brand, and working with such a large enterprise over the past year has been a truly remarkable experience and a defining moment for RainTree,” he said. “We’ve had incredible success with smaller brands in the few years prior. We truly believe we have the most effective franchise development program and team members in the industry, and just needed a chance to prove that at scale. The RainTree team exceeded even my wildest expectations in this case; I couldn’t be more proud. It’s caused a lot of buzz in the industry; I’m now literally turning away more than 5 brands a week on average, simply because we have to stay quite selective of the brands we represent.”

Loren Bontrager, the director of franchise business development for Jamba Juice, praised RainTree’s methods, sales team and creativity in helping the Jamba Juice brand grow. He specifically cited “highly-produced videos for both franchise support and franchisee testimonials,” as well as RainTree’s great relationship with portals and franchise broker groups. There is also RainTree’s digital component and targeted social media ads.

“They understand website SEO and how to increase your organic lead stream,” Bontrager said of RainTree. “They have a great way of packaging the franchise opportunity, presenting it to the right audience and then certainly following up and picking up the phone quickly when leads come in.”

Bontrager’s relationship with RainTree goes back a long way. He previously worked with RainTree when he was at Teriyaki Madness in a franchise growth capacity, and so he already knew what the company was capable of when he joined Jamba Juice in August 2017. He immediately suggested that Jamba Juice bring on RainTree to help with their franchise growth efforts. The timing was perfect, as the smoothie giant was going through many changes. Jamba Juice did not have an in-house development team and there were very few employees. Most had been let go or had left for other opportunities.

“That’s why I felt so comfortable coming into Jamba Juice saying ‘I believe in this team,’” Bontrager said. “They’ve got a strong qualifier and sales team and process. It was a big transition period for the brand and made a lot of sense because we could move a lot more quickly and mitigate some of our risk of bringing people in-house and spending money by getting a result-driven program in place.”

The relationship between the two brands just might have helped in another major way. In August 2018 it was announced that Focus Brands acquired Jamba Juice in a deal valued at approximately $200 million. Jamba Juice will go from being a publicly-traded company to being privately held, Bontrager said.

“RainTree played a really big part in making us a viable option for Focus Brands,” Bontrager said.

He has nothing but high praise for the way RainTree conducts business and how well they work with brands.

“They are an extension of whatever brand they represent,” Bontrager said of RainTree. “They put on the colors of whoever they’re representing and it’s not the other way around. They are great at following direction, at being flexible and at being able to make changes very rapidly and quickly. It’s just as if they were on your internal team, and that’s a huge benefit.”

RainTree’s partnership program includes franchise packaging, lead generation and franchise sales. The company has helped companies award over 1,000 franchises since it started in 2013.