UTSanDiego.com

Jamba Juice CEO: We're a Growth Story

Tickers in this article: JMBA MCD SBUX

NEW YORK ( TheStreet -- Debra Borchardt: Jamba (JMBA) has always been focused on healthy living and a wellness lifestyle. Now they're expanding their menu. They're bringing the kids into the picture, too. I am here with the CEO, James White. So let's talk about that, because this is really a huge thing to start to give healthy options for moms and kids.

James White: So, we're really excited about our platform for kids and we view ourselves as a helper for moms, where we can be a go-to, on-the-go resource for great tasting, all-fruit smoothies. We've got four options in the kid's meal offering that deliver two and a half servings of fruit or vegetables and one full serving of whole grains, which is really hard to beat and that the kids absolutely love. It's in the form of our pizza swirl or our cheese-stuffed pretzel and a good source of protein.

Debra Borchardt: Jamba was always the leader in the smoothie business and then you saw some rivals come in... McDonalds (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX) ...but that kind of brought more awareness to your product, right?

James White: We actually believe the new competitors and the investments that they've made have actually created a broader awareness of the need and opportunity to create healthier solutions. Our best business results, over the course of the last four years, have been since the entry of both McDonalds and Starbucks and others into the smoothie and juice space.

Debra Borchardt: Jamba's really been on a turn-around for the last few years. Where do you see your position in that turn-around, at this point? Do you see you're coming at the end of it...you're at the middle of it?

James White: We're actually at the end of the turn-around. We would have called our turn-around complete in 2011. We finished that year with same-store sells at right about four percent. We'll finish this year in the four to six percent range for the full year, which will be at the top of the restaurant industry sector, so I'd call 2012 a transition year. We clearly view 2013 as a growth year for the company.

We're becoming a growth company, going forward. You'll see us add 50 to 75 units on a global basis and we actually see that being a pace that is sustainable growth for us, domestically and internationally, on a go-forward basis, and there aren't many players that will add 50 to 75 locations of our size, in the foreseeable future...so really, really bright pictures. 2012 will be our first recorded year of profits, as a public company, and we will continue to accelerate from there.

Debra Borchardt: There's been a lot of talk about the healthcare mandate and how it's going to affect workers and providing healthcare for them. Is that going to be an issue for you? Will you be adjusting shifts or anything like that?