You won't find a rocky road smoothie on the menu at Jamba Juice parent Jamba (NASDAQ:JMBA). However, that may be the way the company's coarse financials for the 28 weeks ended Jan. 9 feel. Despite the rough flavor patches, you may ultimately like the aftertaste.

For the period, revenues rose 12.4% higher to hit $145 million. The massive $59 million deficit is unbecoming, yet most of that stemmed from derivative liabilities dating back to the IPO of its shell company. If we take a look at Jamba Juice itself, it still wound up in the raspberry red, but at least its operating loss was just $2.2 million.

Comps dipped by 0.6%, yet that's stacked on top of a 7.7% top-line surge a year earlier. It could have been worse, as the company could have suffered from the fallout of a faulty supplier that sent strawberries tainted with the potentially harmful Listeria bacterium to the company. Jamba caught most of it in time, pulling the product after going through just 40 to 60 cases actually being served in some of the stores in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Higher commodity prices and occupancy costs hurt Jamba. Store-level income inched 3.7% higher, a fraction of the 12.4% top-line spurt.

Have we got all that out of our system? Okay, as a Jamba shareholder, let me tell you why I'm going to hold on to my shares like a thirsty patron hugs a Strawberries Whirl on a warm day.

Since last year's eclectic path to going public, the company has been emphasizing its company-owned locations. It has been buying back franchised locations, and its plans for 2007 call for the opening of 90 company-owned units, along with 50 franchised or licensed locations.

Why do I like to see Jamba go the company-owned route? Well, those stores account for 96% of the revenue, even though just 63% of the 600 existing stores are company-owned. Franchised locations provide a welcome stream of high-margin royalty revenue, but the real power of a successful concept comes from having more control at the unit level.

You may have seen how large franchisee positions stung companies like Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD), Schlotzsky's, and Einstein Bagels in the past. I realize that it's been a major driver for winners like Subway and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), but I would much rather be an investor in a company like Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) that emphasizes wholly-owned locations.

Jamba expects to grow its top line by 20% to 25% this year. That makes sense, with its projection to grow its company-owned locations by 24%. If the recent expansion of its all-fruit smoothie lines help grow comps, 2007 will be less rocky road and more smoothie.

Chipotle is a Rule Breakers and Hidden Gems newsletter recommendation. Krispy Kreme is a former selection in the Motley Fool Stock Advisor research service.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz makes the 10-minute trek to Jamba Juice on a weekly basis. He does own shares in Jamba. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.