Planet Smoothie, Tasti D-Lite to dual brand C. Fla. stores

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Planet Smoothie’s new owner is bringing its signature soft-serve into some of the 24 local existing smoothie shops in the coming months.

Franklin, Tenn.-based Tasti D-Lite, which bought Atlanta-based Planet Smoothie LLC late last year for an undisclosed amount, is going to be added into several of Central Florida’s smoothie stores as part of a plan to dual brand the concepts, said area director Jason Mann.

Mann, whose Altamonte Springs-based Mann’s Diversified Industries Inc. operates two area Planet Smoothie stores, said he plans to start with his own 1,050-square-foot store on State Road 434 in Altamonte Springs. The estimated $60,000-$80,000 remodel includes adding soft-serve ice cream machines and a toppings bar, as well as separately branding the two concepts, he said.

Oviedo-based McGaughey Construction Inc. is the general contractor.

Once the store remodel is completed by this fall, Mann said he plans to work with the area’s other 14 franchisees to determine where the next dual-branded stores will be, including his other store in Waterford Lakes.

"I have to be able to infuse Tasti D-Lite into my location and then as area director, assist other franchisees with their renovations," he said. "I’m trying do in my operations first, so I can work much more quickly with franchisees rather than figuring it out as we go along."

Not all area stores will get the conversions, since some have exclusivity clauses in their agreements that wouldn’t allow for another dessert concept. But the majority will see the marriage of the two concepts.

Additionally, a few local Planet Smoothie stores — including one on South Orange Avenue across from the SoDo development south of downtown Orlando — had already introduced frozen yogurt and will be converting that to the Tasti D-Lite product. That will be a less expensive conversion, at an estimated $40,000.

Additionally, Mann said about a dozen or so more new dual-branded stores could be developed in the Orlando market during the next few years.

"You see in the industry a merging of smoothie and cold cream," Mann said. "We’re in a new economy and the ability to drive gross sales for a franchisee will be determined on how you use your space inside your stores."

Regardless of how you look at it, it’s a pretty sweet deal for us dessert lovers.