One Company Is Capitalizing on the Two Biggest Food Service Trends

Good companies don’t ignore trends; they capitalize on them. Jamba, a leading seller of smoothies and juices, has achieved three years of same store-sales growth, despite a difficult economic environment. Its success lies in its ability to capitalize on two emerging food service trends.

Mar 27, 2014 at 4:41PM

Source: Jamba

There are two big trends impacting the restaurant industry today: healthy living and improving customer satisfaction through the use of technology. The health and wellness trend has hurt sales at quick service restaurants, or QSRs, and soda companies, prompting them to introduce healthier alternatives. Meanwhile, restaurants that have been early adopters of technology have gained an edge over competitors by virtue of an improved customer experience.

Jamba (NASDAQ:JMBA), a restaurant retailer focused on smoothies and juices, has used these two trends to increase its competitiveness. The results speak for themselves: Jamba registered three consecutive years of comparable-store sales growth from 2011 to 2013, which represents a good set of results in this difficult environment of weak consumer sentiment.

Healthy lifestyle
As more QSRs include healthier choices as part of their revamped menus, Jamba has the advantage of already being a recognized healthy lifestyle brand. In a October 2013 StudyLogic survey, Jamba was ranked fourth among top-of-mind healthy food and beverage brands, tied with organic and natural foods giant Whole Foods Market.

However, Jamba isn't resting on its laurels. Instead, it plans to further its brand building efforts. First, it is broadening the fruit and vegetable options for its smoothies and blends. One of the new products launched in March was Kale Orange Power, a blend of fresh orange juice with chopped whole leaf kale and bananas. Kale Orange Power is the latest addition to Jamba's line of Whole Food Nutrition smoothies, focused on ingredients including Greek yogurt, carrots, kale, and chia seeds. Kale has been called the "queen of greens," and is a rich source of calcium, iron, and vitamins.

Second, Jamba is reaching out to more consumers regarding its offerings of healthy beverages. Jamba started the Healthy Living Council in 2011 to educate consumers on health and wellness issues through both traditional and new media. In 2013, Jamba expanded on this concept with the Healthy Living Fitness Council. The Healthy Living Council includes contributors such as diet and nutrition expert Tara Gidus, the author of the popular Diet Diva blog; while Healthy Living Fitness has sportspeople such as tennis star Venus Williams as its advocates.

Another restaurant operator that has won the hearts of its customers with healthier food options is Noodles & Company (NASDAQ:NDLS), a chain of fast-casual restaurants serving noodles and pasta. All of Noodles & Company's food offerings are free of MSG and artificially added trans fats. For diet-watchers, the chain has different food items low in sodium, fat, and calories. Customers suffering from gluten intolerance can specifically ask Noodles & Company to prepare their food with gluten-free ingredients.

Noodles & Company's efforts to go the extra mile were recognized with top 10 placings in Parents Magazine's lists of best family restaurants in 2009 and 2011.

The initiatives by other food service operators such as Noodles & Company to include healthier offerings lend support to the fact that Jamba is capitalizing on the right trend.


Source: Jamba

Technology saves time
One of the key pain points for diners is the waiting time associated with ordering and paying for their food. Technological advances have allowed restaurants to address this issue more effectively.

Tabletop screens have already been installed at approximately 400 of Chili's restaurants either owned or franchised by Brinker International (NYSE:EAT). The tablets allow diners to order dessert and coffee, and also pay the bills via credit card. The response has been good thus far, with Brinker claiming that customer acceptance rates are as high as 80%.

Jamba has gone one step further in its use of mobile apps such as Google Wallet, PayPal, or Isis, which allow customers to submit their orders and make payments prior to leaving home or entering the stores.  Users of a mobile app can then just collect their drinks at the Jamba store without queuing and waiting.

In November 2013, Jamba also launched the Isis Mobile Wallet, which leverages the hottest trend in cashless payment-near field communication technology used in smartphones.

Foolish final thoughts
Consumers want to be as healthy as possible and avoid wasting precious time. Jamba and other companies that help them meet these goals will thrive.  

Good companies understand their customer needs and adapt accordingly. Jamba has adapted accordingly to suit the needs of its health-conscious and time-constrained customers. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Mark Lin has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers