Daily Juice CEO John Martin on Expanding Into Houston and Beyond

If you've spent any time in Austin, there's a good chance you've visited Daily Juice. The original on Barton Springs has been making fresh juices from its quirky, rock-covered building for nearly 10 years. A third location on 3rd Street gave the juice bar a facelift when it opened a year and a half ago, and it's this revamped and refreshed prototype that's set to take over the nation -- starting with Houston

Daily Juice plans to open between 12 and 16 locations in Houston within the next few years, says CEO John Martin, who's originally from Houston himself. "We've already pinpointed three locations," Martin says, although he's shy about disclosing where until the leases have been signed.

Although Martin isn't the original owner of Daily Juice -- he was most recently the CEO of Alamo Drafthouse, running it along with two partners after Tim and Karrie League sold the popular cinema chain -- Martin is just as passionate about the product as if he'd started the Barton Springs shop himself.

"What sets Daily Juice apart is that you're getting the whole fruit or the whole vegetable," he says over the phone, excited to explain why these aren't your typical chain smoothies. "There aren't added powders, ice or water as fillers. We don't use powdered protein mixes as some large chains or competitors do. We get the entire produce selection into the juicers or cold-pressed machines."

In addition, Martin says, they've been working hard to add salads, wraps and other healthy, grab-and-go items to the store on 3rd Street, the clean, modern aesthetic of which will be duplicated in new markets as Daily Juice expands. This type of aggressively planned expansion is exactly why Martin was brought in.

About two years after leaving Alamo Drafthouse, Martin says, "I was talking to some friends of mine who said, 'Hey, you built a franchise system and growth platform for Alamo -- will you talk to these guys at Daily Juice and do the same thing?'"

"They'd been around for 8 years and had a huge following but were stepping over themselves trying to figure out how to expand," he says. A short time later, Martin had a plan: "The Barton Springs and Lake Austin Boulevard locations are kind of designed for the places they went into," he says. "There's a plain ceiling for growth at those locations." As a result, those two Daily Juice operations were "de-branded" (turned into something else, in business-speak) and all new Daily Juice locations will have what Martin calls "a consistency of product and customer service."

"What we have now is a good model that embraces the DNA of Daily Juice" says Martin. "We have a new logo and a new brand, but the product is the same if not better."

But as Daily Juice expands into Houston, don't expect each store to be a carbon copy of the 3rd Street location in Austin. Each location will be unique, Martin promises. "A Rice Village location would embrace West U and Rice University," he offers as an example.

The first Houston locations should open within six months. And after that, Martin says, look for Daily Juice to go national.

"We want to go coast to coast -- over 100 stores in five years."

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