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Smooth operator

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  • | 11:00 a.m. April 15, 2016
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How do you sell more than $1 million worth of smoothies in a year?

Set high expectations.

That particularly goes for teenage employees, says Dave Cotrone Jr., who runs four Smoothie King locations in the Sarasota-Manatee region in conjunction with his parents, Dave Cotrone Sr. and Dawn Cotrone. One of the stores the family operates, in west Bradenton, was recently named the franchise's top performer for 2015, with annual sales that surpassed seven figures. Metairie, La.-based Smoothie King, which operates more than 650 stores worldwide, named the elder Cotrones Franchisee of the Year in 2014.

Dave Cotrone Jr. says the location of the Bradenton store, in a high-traffic area near St. Stephen's Episcopal School campus, is a key factor in the success. But Cotrone says his biggest asset is the approach he takes with the often-fickle high school kids who make up the bulk of the store's workforce. The core of the method: tough love.

“We set the bar really high and really specific,” Cotrone tells Coffee Talk. “I tell them we want to have the cleanest floors out there and the cleanest counters.”

Cotrone also says he doesn't hesitate to move on from employees who don't show the drive to succeed in a high-expectation environment. “It's not really rocket science,” he says. “It's simply making sure you are really consistent.”


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