Charles Watson named Tropical Smoothie CEO

The company says it's on track to generate $1 billion in sales within five years.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Tropical Smoothie Cafe on Thursday said it has named Charles Watson its permanent CEO as it works to grow into a $1 billion company within five years.

Watson has worked for the brand for more than 10 years and has been its chief development officer since 2015. The company says he is directly responsible for selling more than 800 franchises in his time with the company.

Charles Watson/Tropical Smoothie

Charles Watson

He had been operating as the brand’s interim CEO since the departure of Mike Rotondo, who left for a job with Edible Arrangements last July.

“Charles has the tenacity, vision, and passion this brand needs to continue our upward trajectory and will ensure the success of our franchisees is at the center of every decision we make,” Tropical Smoothie Chairman Scott Pressly said in a statement. “He has been instrumental in developing the culture of Tropical Smoothie Cafe and earning the trust of our franchisees.”

Watson takes over a company that is eager to continue its expansion. The company has more than 720 locations nationwide but says it is on track to more than double that, to 1,500, within five years—by which time it will generate more than $1 billion in annual sales.

That would be substantial growth from its current level: Tropical Smoothie generated just less than $400 million in system sales in 2017, according to Technomic, though that had grown by 25% over the previous year.

Watson said in a statement that Tropical Smoothie “has truly become a part of my DNA over many years.”

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Why Wingstop isn't afraid of Popeyes' chicken wings

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual wing chain says its sales improve when another brand pushes the product. Here’s why that might be.


Mendocino Farms masters a meaty Philly cheesesteak sandwich—without the meat

Behind the Menu: The fast casual uses a mushroom-based meat alternative for its Philly Shroomsteak Sandwich, a new menu item targeted to flexitarians, not just vegans.


Pay hike for couriers shakes up food delivery in NYC

Customers are paying more, and couriers are working less. What it all means for restaurants is still unclear, but some fear it could get ugly.


More from our partners