ALL POSTSMAUI WOWI franchiseSmoothie / Juice franchise

MAUI WOWI Franchise Owner Shares Frustrations, Advice

Maui Wowi Franchising, Inc., is a Colorado corporation offering franchises to sell MAUI WOWI* fresh fruit smoothies, Hawaiian coffee and related espresso beverages, a variety of Hawaiian products, and other products developed by or for Maui Wowi Franchising, Inc.

Maui Wowi products are sold from either fixed store fronts, non-traditional locations such as malls, airports or business complexes, or from portable units placed at events that occur on a periodic basis or are held in special or temporary venues.

The investment for a Maui Wowi franchise can range from $42,000 to as much as $360,050.

Maui Wowi: A Chain in Decline?

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has published concerns regarding the seemingly high failure rates of Maui Wowi franchisees.

According to Entrepreneur, Maui Wowi’s domestic franchises have declined from 365 in 2010 to 207 in 2014.  Read more here:

MAUI WOWI Franchise Complaints

MAUI WOWI Franchise Warning

Is MAUI WOWI Juicing Its Franchise Numbers?

We reached out to Michaels Haith & Weinberger on what’s causing the decline and what’s being done about it, but never received a response:

MAUI WOWI Open Letter to Michael Weinberger, Michael Haith

However, a Maui Wowi franchise owner contacted us with his (or her) thoughts on the issues we raised.

“Maui Wowi Corporate Has no Sense of Urgency or Accountability”

The Maui Wowi Franchisee told us:  “Mainland, i.e. the Franchisor, plays too much on the Hawaiian laid back attitude.  There is no accountability for keeping, or even setting, deadlines.  Announcements with dates are made and when the date comes and goes, it’s no big deal to them.  Life goes on, they continue to collect a paycheck; all the while many of their franchisees hang in the balance frantically gripping a bunch of bananas high in a tree waiting for it to let loose tumbling them to the ground in a painful thud (i.e. high franchise failure rate).”


“Maui Wowi’s High Franchisee Turnover is Tied to Poor Support”

The Maui Wowi Franchisee told us:  “The cause of the high abandonment rate between 2010 and 2012 can be partially blamed on the downturn in the economy. But general observations of the sales cycle through purchase, training, and becoming an active franchisee indicate that there is minimal support at best once an operator gets up and running.  Training is insufficient, support requests go unanswered for days and even weeks, requests to have marketing materials designed take weeks to complete, all marketing materials have the undertone of selling a franchise instead of promoting a great product and lifestyle, and the list goes on and on.”


“Maui Wowi Does Not Listen to Franchisees, Lacks Success Plan”

The Maui Wowi Franchisee told us that there have been positive developments

“The steps that Maui Wowi have been taking in recent months to fix the high failure rate are:

1) Make Michael Wienberger CEO (August 2013 – which allows Michael Haith to focus on Franchise Sherpas (which is what he’s been doing for years anyway),

2) Hire Kerri DeLaRosa as Director of Franchise Support (November 2013 –, and

3) Hire Jeff Lougee as Franchise Business Manager (July, 2014 –

“While these placements are desperately needed, the rest of the staff are inexperienced, there’s a lack of accountability and trust within the entire franchise system, change is unbearably difficult to achieve, genuine listening to the franchisees is not in their repertoire, and no overall plan to success has ever been revealed.”


“Prospective Franchisees:  Call Many Owners Before Signing”

A Maui Wowi Franchisee told us:  “Maui Wowi only discloses information about those that have left the system through the FDD.  

“Each prospective purchaser of a Maui Wowi franchise must do their own due diligence and talk to present and former owners in order to come to the conclusion that Maui Wowi is right for them.

“They are all listed in the back of the FDD and anyone interested in purchasing any franchise better call lots of people outside those that the franchisor suggests in order to glean a full complete picture.”


The Maui Wowi franchisor is also invited to provide a response, clarification and/or rebuttal, as always. 


tags: Maui Wowi, Maui Wowi franchise, Maui Wowi franchise failures, Maui Wowi franchise complaints, Maui Wowi franchise cost, Michael Haith, Franchise Sherpas, Michael Weingartner,

One thought on “MAUI WOWI Franchise Owner Shares Frustrations, Advice

  • I got an email inquiry from someone thinking about a smoothie or coffee franchise like Maui Wowi vs going independent.

    Here’s my opinion:

    Every franchise puts a significant burden on the franchisee from the outset. There is the franchise fee, royalty and marketing/ad funds. That can be 8% – 20% of your gross or more… an amount that can be the difference between success or failure. There is the fact that you do not have the freedom to make your own decisions, to add or delete a product line, etc. They can make you buy products that are marked up so they profit, even if you don’t. There is the fact that you are building someone else’s brand – you have no equity in the name or brand.

    SOME franchises provide enough benefits to more than compensate for those burdens, but not the majority. McDonald’s is worth it because it’s a powerful, heavily advertised brand that drives significant traffic immediately. They have signature branded products independents can’t offer, especially at those price points. But many franchises, like MW and most beverage franchises in my opinion, provide more burden than benefit.

    Running a coffee or smoothie place is not brain surgery. It’s all out in the open – sit and observe. Equipment manufacturers and vendors often provide excellent training and support, even layouts, etc. You can hire a former manager from Starbucks or MW who will put your procedures in order for far less. Come up with a good name and Hire a graphic designer to create a logo and some catchy graphics. You will spend a few thousand and own your own brand rather than tens of thousands to build someone else’s. When it comes to coffee/smoothies the franchise brand can be a negative compared to something catchy and regional or more creative.

    A lot of the equipment is automated now. You don’t need a franchise. Keep your costs low and learn as much as you can about the business, marketing, etc. as you can. Do it 5X better than Maui Wowi then get rich selling franchises. And don’t forget to send me my 2% for this life-changing advice ;)

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