February 6, 2024

Tropical Smoothie Connection Leads Florida ‘Zees to Rock N Roll Sushi

Groupie Roll (2)

Brothers Nicholas and Vincent Gannascoli are new franchisees in the Rock N Roll Sushi system but, thanks to past connections, they feel right at home.

The duo began franchising in 2002 with Tropical Smoothie Cafe after they spent time in the pizza business. They have three stores in communities along the southeast Florida coast, and during their time with the smoothie brand, the Gannascolis met several people who are now with Rock N Roll Sushi, founded in 2010.

Originally established in Alabama, Rock N Roll Sushi is now based in Destin, Florida, and has a southeast presence. While it operated out of the same state, though, the Gannascolis weren’t aware of the brand until a fellow Tropical Smoothie franchisee mentioned it.

“From there, it got stuck in our head,” Nicholas Gannascoli said. “We’re very ambitious and always looking to do new things. So, when something pops up like this, we want to look into it. We ended up checking it out and loved the concept.”

“The more we dug into it, the more Tropical Smoothie names we saw associated, and it helped us feel comfortable,” Vincent Gannascoli said. “At first, we thought it might be out of our league, with a full sushi restaurant being difficult. But we learned from the people we knew there and understood that it wasn’t as complicated as we once thought. After watching the operation, we found that it’s the same type of experience we’re used to.”

The brothers signed an area development agreement at the start of the year to open two locations in communities just north of West Palm Beach, Florida. The first will open in Stuart Florida in the second quarter of 2024 and the second will launch in Port St. Lucie in early 2025.

“These two know the market and I’ve worked with them before at Tropical Smoothie,” said Chris Kramolis, Rock N Roll Sushi’s chief development officer who also was a Tropical Smoothie area developer and franchisee. “Having people in your system that you know and worked with previously is great. They have the track record to do this. They got into Tropical Smoothie when it was an emerging brand. With Rock N Roll Sushi being another emerging brand, they’re a good fit.”

While Kramolis said the brand is excited about expanding its footprint in Florida, he added that the company is also looking westward for future growth.

“We’ve established two locations in Phoenix, with the second set to open in February,” Kramolis said. “It’s our ‘go west’ movement to stretch our legs and see what our brand can do out there. We already have another two lined up to open before the end of the year in Tucson. We feel like having four in Arizona helps build us a footprint there. We also have three in development for Colorado Springs.”

While growth will be happening outside of the southeast region, though, Kramolis said backfilling states like Florida are still part of the growth strategy.

“We’re established in the panhandle and have come around the bend to Gainesville,” Kramolis said. “So, continuing to grow in Florida makes sense and we’re happy to bring it down to the central and southern parts of the state.”

Nicholas Gannascoli said because of the support from the franchisor and the potential for expansion, that they’re open to expand beyond the two units.

“The corporate office is great and they definitely have put together a very advanced system,” Nicholas Gannascoli said. “We’d love to open more in the future. We have to see how things play out, but we’d like to.”

“The good thing is that the market is wide open in this area,” Vincent Gannascoli said. “We had developed Tropical Smoothie to where we couldn’t expand much more with it. So, Rock N Roll Sushi is like a clean slate for us, and we feel we can take it as far as we want.”

Rock N Roll Sushi has 66 locations open in the U.S., 65 of them franchised. In 2024, 20 more are expected to open. The initial investment for the brand is between $232,000 and $675,000.