Tropical Smoothie Cafe or Smoothie King: Which smoothie chain reigns superior?


Photo by Chris Castelli

Senior Abraham Labban enjoys the Sunrise Sunset smoothie flavor, which is one of the nine fruit blends at Tropical Smoothie Cafe.

Smoothie King and Tropical Smoothie Cafe are two popular smoothie chains that are often compared to one another because of their proximity to our community. Both offer a wide variety of healthy smoothie options that have left students debating which is better. Although they have similar business concepts, there are key differences between the two.

Smoothie King was founded in 1973 in Kenner, Louisiana, and is known for both traditional and functional smoothie options. The functional smoothies are designed to help with specific health goals, such as weight loss, increased energy and improved athletic performance. Our local Rockville Smoothie King menu offers 98 flavors, including unique holiday flavors such as Apple Pie and Snickerdoodle. “I prefer Smoothie King because of their high protein smoothie options that help me reach my fitness goals and help my body recover from a hard workout or practice,” junior Jake Kelly said.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe was founded in 1997 in Destin, Florida, and not only offers smoothies, but also sandwiches, wraps and salads. In addition to its smoothies, the cafe is known for its beach-inspired atmosphere and its use of fresh, high-quality ingredients. The restaurant is more formal than Smoothie King with seating inside and more sit-down meal options. “I like Tropical Smoothie Cafe better because of how I can buy a sandwich and smoothie at the same time and still be eating healthy,” senior Parker Lebowitz said.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe pricing is less expensive than Smoothie King for smoothies of the same size, however, Smoothie King has more smoothie flavor options., Both cafes offer reward systems based on points that are earned from purchasing items through their app, and both boast different rewards for being a member. Smoothie King’s Healthy rewards members receive a free upgrade from 20 ounce to 32 ounce smoothies every Friday and $5 20 ounce coffee smoothies everyday. Meanwhile, Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s Tropic Rewards provides its members with benefits such as a free smoothie after their first purchase with the app and a free smoothie when they refer a friend.

Another difference between the two chains is their approach to health and wellness. Smoothie King is focused on providing smoothies that can help with specific health goals. Tropical Smoothie Cafe, on the other hand, emphasizes the use of fresh ingredients in all of its menu items. Smoothie King has a larger menu as well and offers more protein supplements for purchase or to include in their smoothies. “I choose Tropical Smoothie Cafe because the prices are significantly cheaper and I haven’t had a reason to go to Smoothie King ever since they ended their Five Dollar Friday deal,” junior Sebastian Valdivia said.

Despite their differences, both Smoothie King and Tropical Smoothie Cafe are known for their tasty and healthy smoothies. Whether you’re looking for a smoothie to help you meet your health goals or just want a full meal with a tasty smoothie, either smoothie restaurant is a valid choice.