Juice It Up’s New CEO to Prioritize Brand Refresh
“We’re a 25-year-old brand, so we’re working on a brand refresh and new strategy to expand the concept from the southern California market,” said Susan Taylor, Juice It Up's new president and CEO.
Susan Taylor began her career in restaurant operations as an opening kitchen manager at Chevys Fresh Mex. In 2003, she became regional operator of Baja Fresh, then worked at Jamba Juice for 14 years in franchise operations.
After a brief stint at Sharkys Woodfired Mexican Grill, Taylor joined Juice It Up! as vice president of franchise operations. Now, she’s been promoted to president and CEO of the raw juice, açaí bowl and smoothie chain based in Irvine, Calif.
“What I learned from all of those, especially Jamba, was as the brand evolved from being a regional player and positioned themselves to grow, there are roadblocks that come up when you grow too quickly without proper plans in place,” Taylor said. “I also learned how to manage a brand through an extended period of time.”
Founded in 1995, Juice It Up started franchising in 1998. Then in 2018, the brand was purchased from longtime owner Frank Easterbrook and acquired by SJB Brands, a partnership formed between California-based private investment firms Britt Private Capital led by Chris Britt, Jupiter Holdings led by Edmond F. St. Geme and Dover Shores Capital led by Chris Braun, who served as CEO until Taylor was appointed.
When Taylor joined Juice It Up last September as VP of operations, her work focused on supporting franchisees and projects involving order-ahead. Now, working with the brand’s director of marketing (who joined Juice It Up a few days before Taylor did), Taylor is working on a refresh of the brand.
“We’re a 25-year-old brand, so we’re working on a brand refresh and new strategy to expand the concept from the southern California market,” Taylor said.
The biggest challenge in her new role, Taylor said, will be deciding what actions to prioritize and what should be put on the back burner for the next few years.
“There’s always a million different things you can do, but we’re deciding the compelling priorities that’s right for the brand, franchisees and business as a whole,” Taylor said. “In this role, I’ll be working cross-functionally, looking at the strategic pillars we need to be focused on in 2021 and beyond to help support franchisees and expand the brand.”
With more than 80 franchised units in southern California and other western states, Juice It Up recently unveiled the brand’s new store design this summer, including a flagship corporate location in Costa Mesa, Calif. That will also serve as an innovation kitchen for research and development.
“Because of COVID, a lot of inspections (for the flagship) have been more challenging to get scheduled,” Taylor said. “But once we get that next week, we’ll start training the team and open the location.”
The initial investment for a Juice It Up franchise ranges from $214,375 to $390,475.