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Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Tropical Smoothie Cafe needed a technology platform to manage learning initiatives and results for its 1,000+ franchise locations.




Franchise Locations





Franchise Locations

  • Restaurant
  • Use Case
  • Franchise Training
  • Frontline Worker Training
  • Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a fast-casual restaurant chain with more than one thousand franchised locations across the United States. Vibrant and fresh, the restaurant brand strives to make eating well easier for its guests by drawing inspiration from the tropics. The brand opened more than 130 new cafes in 2021 and was recognized as one of the fastest growing franchises by Entrepreneur and Nation’s Restaurant News.

    The growing system boasts a mixed model that includes both single and multi-unit franchisees. Since each franchise is independently owned, it’s up to each owner to ensure their employees or “crew members” complete training. The franchise support center’s learning and development (L&D) team oversees, creates, and distributes training ultimately used by approximately 19,000 crew members at all the franchised cafes. Before 2021, however, the team lacked a technology platform to help manage learning initiatives or measure results.


    The Journey Towards Digital Transformation

    Historically, like many companies, paper-based training processes at Tropical Smoothie Cafe were time-consuming and difficult to standardize. Recognizing the need to modernize learning and development altogether, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, LLC, the franchisor of the system, sought a learning management system (LMS) to begin its transition toward digital learning.

    The enterprise needed a system powerful enough to disseminate critical training about frequently rotating menu items, promotions, or new cafe technology to thousands of employees at franchised locations on an ongoing basis—yet simple enough for administrators, managers, and crew members
    to navigate with ease.

    As the team responsible for administration, we were really focused on finding an out-of-the box solution that offers a great experience for all users, including managers and system administrators. Since we didn’t have a system that we’d be replacing, we had an opportunity to start fresh.

    Kelsey Dockins, Senior Director of Communications and Training

    Why Schoox

    The Intuitive Experience

    As Tropical Smoothie Cafe explored the LMS market, the most important consideration for its L&D team was the user experience for both learners and system administrators. First and foremost, they needed a solution to modernize training for franchisee crew members on the front-end. With such a lean team in place though, Kelsey Dockins, Senior Director of Communications and Training, recognized the need for a platform that would make the transition to digital learning as easy as possible on the back-end, too.

    The Tropical Smoothie Cafe team found Schoox to be intuitive, engaging, and easy to navigate for all users. It also streamlined administration and course creation for the L&D team, making it much simpler to track progress and manage learning.

    Kelsey and her team also preferred Schoox because they were able to customize many aspects of the platform to reflect the unique Tropical Smoothie Cafe brand.

    Varying User Provisioner
    Among other things, Tropical Smoothie Cafe selected Schoox because it allows for varying permission levels around content visibility and administrative privileges like reporting. This was especially important because the L&D team needed to permit franchisees to assign greater visibility to certain roles—like District Managers, for example, who may oversee training at multiple locations across various territories while limiting access for others. User provisioning in Schoox also makes it possible to provide multi-unit franchise owners with visibility into the learning environments of all their locations through one account, while single-unit franchisees only see the details for their one location.

    “We introduced Schoox so we could launch a digital learning program that engages our franchisees and their crew members and connects them to the business. Schoox definitely helps us reach our broad audiences through asynchronous learning”

    Kelsey Dockins, Senior Director of Communications and Training

    A Seamless Transition To Digital Learning With Schoox

    Streamlined Course Creation

    Tropical Smoothie Cafe frequently introduces new menu items and promotions, which means crew members must regularly undergo additional training to understand how to make these new offers and effectively perform their jobs. Continuously creating paper-based content for ongoing training initiatives was a hassle for the corporate L&D team before implementing an LMS. Now the L&D team is empowered to create and deliver all kinds of new digital training for learners in different roles— menu item and promotional training for franchised crew members, for example, versus software and leadership training for managers and owners.

    Robust Tracking And Reporting Features
    Schoox now provides full visibility into learner progress on all training initiatives and effective methods to measure skills retention. Franchise owners can see important metrics about their employees, and the corporate L&D team has the insight it needs to continue to improve the efficiency of its training. Schoox reporting data also helps guide more strategic business decisions. For example, when Tropical Smoothie Cafe introduced a new technology system at its cafes, the L&D team referenced course completion rates to determine when each individual franchise was operationally ready for the system to be installed.


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