How do you take a successful concept and grow it into a multi-franchise business that recently announced an aggressive expansion plan along with 20 consecutive quarters of positive comps?
Just ask Steve and Alexis Schulze, the Newport Beach couple that embraced the juice revolution and, in their evangelistic pursuit of sharing how good they felt by juicing, devised a plan to open a juice bar based on recipes they created at home.
They dubbed the business Nékter Juice Bar, and launched their flagship location in 2010 at the old Diedrich’s Coffee location on 17th Street in Costa Mesa.
“We had no idea what would happen,” Alexis told the Indy back in 2013. “We thought people might meet for juice instead of coffee.”
They did, and soon Nékter opened additional juice bars in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
“I would love to see juice bars on every corner and take over the coffee aspect where people can meet for a drink–not coffee, but juice,” said Alexis during that interview. “It’s been really rewarding. People tell me they drink our juices every day, they lose weight, and have never felt better. It helps them make changes in their lives. You don’t have to eat perfectly all the time. I like my French fries. But after you juice, you feel so good.”
Flash forward four years. The prediction Alexis made is coming true.
Nékter has announced that the restaurant and lifestyle brand, which added healthy food options to its menu, will reach its 100th restaurant milestone in 2017, supported by recent multi-unit franchise agreements in Florida, Washington, Utah, and Texas.
As a result, Nékter has adjusted its three-year forecast from 300 to 425 restaurants as it continues to expand its footprint through both company and franchise locations.
“In just six years, Nékter Juice Bar has established its leadership position within the restaurant industry with a retained focus on an authentic, healthy and delicious menu that continues to resonate strongly among today’s more health-conscious consumer,” said Steve Schulze, CEO and co-founder of Nékter Juice Bar. “
Nékter finished 2016 with 42 corporate and 20 franchise locations in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Texas. The company expects to open 24 company-owned and franchise restaurants in the first six months of 2017, with an additional 45 restaurants slated for development.
Reading for Health
In 2016, Alexis Schulze – who has the title of Chief Visionary Officer with Nékter – debuted her first children’s book, “Sneaky Spinach,” aimed at encouraging children and their families to make healthier eating and lifestyle choices.
$4 from each book sold benefits local, regional and national non-profit organizations, causes and programs that benefit children in America.
“We always had a Sneaky Spinach smoothie on our ‘secret’ menu so our young guests would not reject them before they found out that healthy ingredients like spinach can actually taste great,” said Alexis in a statement. “When we started brainstorming ways to have a meaningful impact on our communities, I wanted to find a way to integrate my passion for children’s health and education. My hope is that this book will motivate children and their families to make healthier lifestyle choices, and benefit children across the country, including bringing real fruits and vegetables to lower income communities.”
According to Nékter, the company has partnered with Festival of Children Foundation to support the foundation’s mission of improving the lives of children by strengthening the charities that serve them. Festival of Children Foundation now supports more than 480 children’s charities across the United States.
“I am honored and delighted that Alexis and Nékter Juice Bar have chosen to partner with Festival of Children Foundation,” said Newport Beach resident Sandy Segerstrom Daniels, founder and executive director, Festival of Children Foundation. “Alexis is truly committed to the welfare of children, starting with encouraging and supporting healthier lifestyle choices, and we so value her and Nékter’s support of Festival of Children Foundation and its member organizations across the country.”
Schulze plans to hold book readings, signings and “Sneaky Spinach Smoothie” demonstrations at local schools, libraries and other child-focused non-profit organizations, and will donate $4 from books sold at those events to the respective organization.
A free Teacher’s Guide will also be available for download at nekterjuicebar.com, offering primary-level educators the opportunity to easily integrate lessons around healthy eating into their curriculums.
Before Nékter, Schulze had more than 20 years of experience working with children in both preschool and elementary school settings. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and a Master’s Degree in Cross-Cultural Education.
For more information about the company or franchise opportunities, visit nekterjuicebar.com.