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The Power List
Wan Kim
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 18: Smoothie King CEO Wan poses on March 18, 2016 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Copyright 2016 Layne Murdoch (Photo by Layne Murdoch

The Power List 2018: Wan Kim

The annual NRN Power List is the definitive list of people setting foodservice trends today and shaping them for tomorrow. See the full list >>

The Clean Blender

New Orleans-based Smoothie King has been climbing the restaurant sales rankings thanks in part to CEO Wan King’s healthful positioning of the brand. Since Kim has taken the helm, the chain has removed high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and gluten. Phasing out sugar and artificial flavors, the brand is highlighting its use of whole fruits and vegetables for “clean blending.”

Known for: Kim has been leading aggressive unit growth at the smoothie chain, increasing units by 100 or more annually, for a total of 930 units as of early January. The brand has also increased its systemwide sales by 20 percent over two years, according to NRN’s Top 200 reports.

Power move: Smoothie King’s “smoothies with a purpose” campaign pairs consumers with particular meal occasions that align with wellness and fitness goals. For instance, fitness blends, such as the almond mocha high-protein smoothie, are made for customers who want to “Get toned, build muscle, last longer or recover faster.” The brand still provides smoothies for customers who just want to “take a break” and reward themselves with a sweet treat.

What’s next: Kim and Smoothie King are not slowing down. The chain expects to add 145 units this year.

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