Tropical Smoothie Café may not be the first yogurt shop to open this year in Eagan, but co-owner Bill Goude says its more expansive breakfast, lunch and dinner menu will set it apart from its peers.
The café, which debuted in Eagan's Promenade Shopping Center last Friday, serves more than 30 smoothie varieties and a bevy of other items, including toasted flatbread sandwichs, breakfast bagels, wraps and salads. Customers can also order health supplements like ground flax seed and whey protein to bolster their smoothies.
It's a formula that makes solid business sense for Goude, who opened his first restaurant in Owatonna when he was 23. Although he's dabbled in other careers, including food distribution and a stint as a stockbroker, Goude has returned time and again to the restaurant business.
Goude's co-owner and life-long friend, Stuart Bell, discovered the Tropical Smoothie Café franchise while on a trip in Florida, Goude said. The business' emphasis on fresh fruit and an expanded menu appealed to both men, Goude said.
"It was the whole package; their smoothies are not like most any other place," Goude said. "There's a lot of fresh fruit. You don’t go in, order a smoothie and have a bunch of concentrate pumped in."
After researching the brand, the pair decided to open the shop in Eagan. Goude, an Eagan resident, said the city's emphasis on healthy living and eating—and Eagan's strong business base—were factors in their decision to open locally.
"[The city] is very healthy conscious with incredible demographics, and the business population surrounding this restaurant is roughly 56,000 employees in a five-mile radius," Goude said. "That’s a lot of people going out for lunch."
The café, located at 3344 Promenade Ave., is the company's second franchise in Minnesota. Though the business has 320 storefronts nationwide, the only other Tropical Smoothie Café location in the Twin Cities area is in Savage, Goude said.
Tropical Smoothie also places an emphasis on community engagement, and Goude plans to use the café as a platform to host local fundraisers.
The restaurant currently employs 20 workers, most of which are part-time positions, Goude said. Tropical Smoothie Café's hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.