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Robeks Plans Asian Expansion

Robeks Corp. on Tuesday said that it signed a multi-year master franchise agreement with Clarence Corp. to open 500 smoothie cafes in Japan and 12 other Asian countries.

The deal is the largest in the history of the Manhattan Beach premium smoothie company, founded in 1996, and is the first phase of an international expansion plan. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We now look forward to bringing the great health benefits of Robeks delicious menu items to millions of new customers throughout the world by forming franchise alliances with strong operators in major countries around the globe,” said Chief Executive Steve Davidson in a statement.

Masahiro Koh, president of Tokyo-based Clarence, said there is renewed interest from Asian consumers in developing healthful eating habits. Clarence specializes in importing and distributing health food products for the Japanese market.

“We believe Robeks, with its premium fruit smoothies, proprietary supplements, and other all-natural products, will be a major player in the made-to-order beverage restaurant category in Asia,” Koh said in a statement.

Robeks also sells fresh fruit and vegetable juices, sandwiches, salads and frozen yogurt. In the Asian expansion, three prototype cafes are expected to open before a broader store rollout next year. There also will be small kiosks in shopping malls, universities and other high foot-traffic areas.

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