Want to know the cost of opening a juice bar? This guide describes the key variables you need to consider in opening up a juice bar so that you can effectively budget for your startup.
Opening your juice bar is something to celebrate, as this particular business endeavor directly serves the health of the world. Whether you’re new to the business-world entirely, or simply the juice and smoothie bar industry, you’re asking one of the most common questions we get from clients: ‘how much does it cost to start a juice bar?’
Having a financial plan to understand what your projected budget is crucial for starting any business. There is some information out there already on the topic of opening a juice bar cost, though straight up we’re going to touch on something that is often not expressed in the various articles about the subject…
Where there are figures being quoted without an explanation of why these are the prices, this is not giving an accurate expected budget for prospective juice bar owners.
It can be detrimental for a startup to just go along with vague figures that have no explanations attached. This could lead to under-budgeting, which:
‘Ultimately, it’s better to have more money and not need it, than to need more money and not have it.’ – Andrew McFarlane, Start A Juice Bar founder.
The black-and-white answers of just quoting figures don’t account for your unique situation, so basing your financial plans on an outside source without taking into account all of the different factors that will affect your budget won’t be effective.
What you need is a breakdown of what the essential variables are for budgeting, and how to approach getting this detailed information for your financial planning.
In this article, we’ll share the key factors that you’ll need to assess when it comes to your juice bar vision.
We’ve broken it down to the different variables to consider, such as the store location, potential lease terms, your build-out needs, and menu design, to name a few.
Depending on what your situation is, the budget range will be very different. We’ve also included some helpful guidance for how you can find the information you need with a little research so that you can start to come up with an idea of your unique cost of opening a juice bar.
Later, we’ll provide a mock budget with some actual numbers, for you to get a clearer idea of where you may fall in this average range. We’ll also share about why buying into a juice bar franchise is more expensive, as well as how to go about creating your juice bar business plan, so you can potentially raise the money that you need.
Let this be a guide for you to start considering the information you’ll need to create your financial plans. Know that though there is a lot of information here, this is all to give you the best possible outlook relevant to your juice bar startup.
There is a big difference between the cost of opening a juice bar, versus the cost of operating a juice or smoothie bar business.
We’re presenting an in-depth guide to how to approach opening your juice bar – or put another way – how much it’s going to cost you getting-it-off the ground from start to finish.
This is contrasted to the cost of operating your juice business, which can also be explained as the cost of running your business once it is open.
For now – so the seed is planted for your future considerations once you’re up and running – know that there will be a range of costs in operating your juice bar that falls under the categories of either fixed or variable expenses.
Fixed expenses (which are set costs) would be rent payment, phone bills, any recurring license fees, insurance, and in some cases accounting.
Variable expenses are that which will change for that period (often monthly) depending on a range of factors. These are ingredient costs, marketing, labor, electric bills, and more.
Before you enter the world of operating costs, you first need your juice bar open! This is the initial investment in things like juice bar startup equipment, for example. Let’s dive deeper into the juice bar costs you can expect for getting your business up and running.
For over a decade, we’ve worked with hundreds of clients to open their juice and smoothie bar businesses around the world. From our experience, what we can say is that there is a big range of juice bar startup budgets. Again, this has to do with the variables we outline below, though to give you an idea, here’s the context.
Since clients who have the means to work with a consulting agency like ours – whether for a once-off business plan or a full-scope package – have some capital to invest in consulting, we see that the minimum that clients generally invest is about $100,000 from start to open.
Our founder, Andrew, actually opened his own juice bar business for around $70,000. This lower number was due to the luck of finding a storefront that had the existing infrastructure. This meant that only cosmetic upgrades were needed, so only having to do these minor adjustments effectively saved tens of thousands of dollars. Also, note that this was a decade ago, which means that the economic conditions of real estate in the area (which was in the state of California) were different from the current situation.
We’ve seen clients within a higher-range budget invest even up to $450,000 opening their juice bar – for various reasons (location choice, build-out costs, and design, equipment choice, etc).
What you can be sure about is that you won’t likely be able to open a juice bar business for $20,000. It is possible to get it under $100,000, but even then, it is rare.
Let’s make something clear here. If you think that upward of $100,000 as a juice bar startup cost feels steep to you… think about it in terms of buying a house. Most houses will sell for more than this, that’s an overall accepted fact. People are willing to invest in houses for far more than $100,000.
If there’s some hesitation about investing in a juice bar business more than $100,000, know that the chance of a return on your investment with a successful business is generally much higher than an investment property of a similar price.
Building a business is building an asset, so broaden your mind if you’re having trouble accepting that the average cost of opening a juice bar may be more than you would have expected it to be.
These are the essential variables that will affect your overall budget. We provide guidance and expert tips for finding the right information to set your budget. Though know that for some of the variables, you won’t really have an exact figure until you actually get to that step and begin the process. What this will tell you is where you fall in the budget range that we offer in the ‘mock budget’ provided later in the article.
The location is where you’ll start. The cost of your juice bar in a small state in Central America will be different from a big city in California, for example. The property value of the area you are looking to open will determine the cost of the store, whether you buy it outright, or lease it.
You can already get an idea by simply looking at the commercial properties available in the area and how much they are renting for. Working with an agent will help you to streamline the process and narrow it down to commercial properties that fit your need and desired monthly lease budget.
2. Store Size
When it comes to the actual storefront, again, your location will impact the lease amount, as well as the size of the building itself. A large space that includes customer seating will be vastly different from a more kiosk-stye grab-and-go juice bar store. This article assumes that you are starting a juice bar as an independent store, rather than starting a juice bar inside a gym, for example (though we’ve worked with clients who have done this too!)
Consider that your material costs will vastly increase if you have a larger space. Refer to the build-out needs below for more guidance on the construction process.
3. Lease Terms
Additionally, the leasing structure needs to be considered. As an ongoing cost, you’ll still have to factor this into your opening budget as it will generally require a deposit and usually upfront rent, sometimes a few months, depending on the landlord’s need for financial security in your agreement.
You can often negotiate a lower price for upfront long-term leases, rather than month-to-month. Also, many landlords (particularly with newer buildings), will offer something that is known as ‘tenant improvement allowances’. In essence, this will function as a rebate on your build-out expenses. We have seen clients get anywhere from a small portion of their build-out expenses covered, to a complete build-out allowance.
4. Build-Out Needs
Finally, when it comes to the store, the build-out cost (which is the cost of construction) is going to be one of your biggest expenses for the entire process of opening up a juice bar.
If you find a store that already has existing infrastructure you need (plumbing, sinks, electrical, as well as counter space) you’ll pay far less than a property that requires the installation of utilities and a lot of internal work to make it suited to operating your juice Bar. Signage, lighting, and other cosmetic changes will be factored in here. That being said, don’t sign a lease on a location just because it has these elements in place if the location is not a fit for your target market. While this seems like a cheaper initial investment, it could lead to your ultimate business failure.
To get an idea of what your budget might be, call local contractors and ask about the average cost per square foot.
Think about building a juice bar like building a house – it requires much of the same infrastructure, though for commercial and industrial purposes. Because of this reason, in many cases, even a small juice bar store space can be on par with, or more than, the cost of a house.
Also, consider whether you’d need to pay an interior designer to help with the layout of your store. This is a service we provide with our consulting packages.
Every city is different when it comes to the required licenses and permits and their respective costs that a juice bar business should obtain. These will include health department and business licenses, as well as permits like the fire department, air and water pollution control, and sign permits, among others.
Call your local city hall and get them to point you to the right information/department for all required licenses and permits for your business’s operation.
Of course, outfitting your juice bar with commercial and industrial equipment is essential, and will account for a big portion of your juice bar startup cost.
Your Choice of Juicer
This topic deserves some detail, as it could mean a $10,000 difference for your budget depending on the type of juicer you choose. Commercial grade juicers are not cheap, and the main types of commercial juicers that you’ll choose from include:
1. Centrifugal Juicer
Price range: $1,500 – $3,000 (factoring in shipping)
2. Masticating Juicer
Price range: $400 – $900
If you choose to cold-press, this is going to add much more to your startup cost, as the best commercial-grade cold-press juicers are the hydraulic press juicers. By some people’s definition, a cold-press juicer actually includes masticating juicers (but this is another conversation entirely).
Hydraulic cold-press juicers handle large volume production (suited to a business) though they will cost somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000 for a mid to high-volume juice bar.
Side note: We do not recommend getting a more affordable or smaller volume hydraulic press for your business, as you will run into any issues with keeping up with production, which will cost you more in labor.
If you opt for a regular retail version of a masticating juicer as a cold-press option, you would need multiple machines (6-8) to handle high volume orders. They generally don’t last long with commercial production needs, so the best option for the long-term would be to go with a commercial hydraulic cold-press juicer if you’ve chosen to cold-press.
Guidance to Cost-Out your Equipment
To get an idea of your cost of equipment, consider from the list above about what you would need (also, the following point about the menu will help you decide what you need). The size of your store and projected ‘traffic’ of customers will also help you to decide if you need more than one appliance/machine.
You can then take a look at top commercial brands for each type of equipment. Costs can be saved on refurbished models, though brand new is always best. If you want some advice on the equipment that we recommend, as well as some information on how to come up with your unique juice bar equipment price list, fill out the form down below.
Creating your menu is another key investment that factors into your startup juice bar budget. Developing your recipes will take experimentation, practice, and potentially hiring menu consultants.
Your budget would include the cost of your ingredients and potentially the cost of hiring any menu consultants.
Cost of Ingredients
Don’t underestimate this; if you are perfecting recipes, especially those that use high-quality ingredients and superfoods – you can spend a lot of money on the ingredients alone as you trial recipes.
Costs of Consultants/Menu Designers
It’s quite common for startups to hire a chef or a consultant team to create their menu. Having a menu created by those who have worked in foodservice is extremely valuable, as they take into consideration the most efficient and cost-effective use of ingredients. It would be difficult to understand which juices and meals have the quickest prep time and highest profit margin if you’ve never worked in foodservice before.
We also provide a menu-design service for our clients, as we have crafted hundreds of menus that include juice, smoothie, and food recipes.
Do not make the mistake of just copying free recipes online. This can put businesses in tough positions as these recipes are not optimized for the juice service industry, among other reasons that Andrew shares in this YouTube video.
The average budget we would recommend as a starting point would be around $2000 for a time period of 2 weeks to get your first draft of the menu together. Though this depends on the cost of your ingredients and the size of your menu.
Starting a business is also starting a brand, so the design process and related costs need to be factored into the initial budget for your juice bar startup. The following elements come under brand design:
To get a clear idea on all the elements of the visual design of your store, visit competitor juice bars and cafes and notice the visual elements they have, and sense the overall feel of the brand and how it’s expressed in color, furniture, etc. You can take notes on what you like/don’t like, and use this visit to help you compile a list of things you need to think about.
Additionally, get quotes on printing costs, considering the different materials you can use for menus and signage, for example. Our recommendation is to not try to ‘save’ on lower quality interior design and printing, as it will end up costing you more in the long-run having to constantly replace menus that can’t be cleaned, or furniture that doesn’t last long.
Hiring an interior designer who has worked in commercial spaces – foodservice in particular – can be super supportive for entrepreneurs not having to do it all alone. Hiring a designer, of course, will add on to your projected budget of the materials and labor needed to design your physical space, signage, and the virtual design elements, so be sure to factor that in and get quotes for various designers to get the best deal.
As the front line of your business, your employees are invaluable to the successful running of your juice bar business. Employee wages will be an ongoing variable operational cost, though, in the start-up phase, you will still have to budget for training your staff before the doors open.
This training is about making sure all employees are ready to serve customers already at a high standard from opening-day onwards, which means that they need to know how to use the POS system, prep the ingredients, make the drinks (and food, if that’s on your menu), clean the juice bar, and be familiar with opening and closing procedures.
How much it will cost depends on how many training days you have, the hourly rate of these employees, and how many people you choose to hire for the initial start-up phase. You can get key information on the wage requirements for your location and if there are any special conditions for paid training (some states in the U.S have a reduced hourly rate for training period) from your local labor board.
Did you know that our consulting company also offers a worldwide staff training service? We send one of our trainers to your location to assist your staff in the best practices for effectively operating this business.
We’ve often been told that the stage was one of the most valuable experiences that our clients can receive, especially when the owners themselves are new to the juice and smoothie industry, (or to hospitality in general).
Expert Tip: If you have no management experience, especially in the foodservice industry, we highly recommend that you hire an experienced general manager who understands foodservice standards to handle your day-to-day operations.
The above variables were the key costs to consider, though know that there will be more that you need to budget for. The following are additional costs for you to take into account when creating your juice bar budget:
Take your time to do the research to find the relevant service companies to obtain multiple quotes from each. Speak to different architects, construction companies, equipment brands, designers, and more to look at quotes and compare them to one another. This doesn’t cost a cent, and you could end up saving thousands of dollars just from investing some time to get the best deals.
This will also give you the clearest picture of what you can expect your budget range to be. It’s worth the energy to ‘shop around’ and assess these quotes if you’re serious about lowering the cost of opening a juice bar.
To get a basic idea on price ranges to think about, considering that your budget will be determined by the variables we shared above, here’s a ‘mock’ startup juice bar budget.
Each cost is displayed as a range of the average budgets we commonly see. Keep in mind that we’ve had clients spend upwards of $450,000 (due to choices of higher-end equipment and store build-outs, for example).
The budget below is the average range, not encompassing all scenarios and juice bar startup costs, so you will have to assess what end of the spectrum you will likely be in each area based on the information we have provided above.
We also want to share briefly about the difference between starting your own juice bar and purchasing a juice and smoothie bar franchise. Starting a franchise would factor in all costs from the above mock budget, as well as initial franchise fees (which will then also be ongoing marketing and royalty fees as part of your operational costs).
Below are some examples of popular U.S-based juice and smoothie bar franchise brands and their franchise fees:
Vitality Bowls: Up to: $39,500
Nekter: Up to $35,000
Smoothie King: Up to $30,000
Juice It Up: Up to: Up to $25,000
Jamba Juice: Up to $25,000
Tropical Smoothie Cafe: Up to $25,000
We work with clients who are opening their own original juice bar concepts, and we recommend this option over joining a franchise for the benefits of:
Andrew shares more about the juice bar franchise industry in the podcast episode here.
As you compile the information you need as per our recommendations on how to get an idea on the costs of each variable, creating a business plan is the next step. This is an outline of your business mission, model, and financial elements.
A business plan not only helps you to outline your budget with financial reports and breakdowns giving you a roadmap of opening your business, but it also enables startups to secure funding. Small business loans and investment funding require a business plan to be submitted for financers to assess whether your business is viable and geared towards success.
Generally, these are the key elements of a juice bar business plan:
It’s a lot, we know. One of our services as part of our consulting packages (and also as a standalone offering) is to create your entire business plan. Taking the guesswork out of it and enhancing the chance of securing capital successfully. For more information on our business plan service, take a look here.
Fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you.
Watch our video on the cost of a juice bar business below.