Fast-growing yogurt and smoothie chain Red Mango celebrated the opening of its 300th unit this summer and the start of what founder Dan Kim says is a "new era" for the Dallas-based company. The new Oak Park, Ill., location marks the official debut of a new store design and brand positioning as Red Mango Yogurt Café & Juice Bar.

The expanded concept offers a broader menu, including freshly squeezed juices, flatbread sandwiches, wraps and salads with less than 500 calories. The menu also continues to offer all-natural frozen yogurts, fruit and yogurt parfaits, probiotic iced teas and smoothies.

Jim Notarnicola, vice president of franchising and marketing, notes that while the concept features an expanded menu, the new prototype occupies the same basic footprint of 1,200 to 1,400 square feet. "We now maximize the space to offer more on the menu and serve more customers," he says. "There's as much as 50 percent more seating."

Key design highlights in full-size units include the addition of a sit-down juice bar, booth seating, expanded merchandising of healthy grab-and-go snacks, and a new wide-format menu board system showcasing the broader offering.

Site selection criteria for the expanded concept remain the same, targeting high-traffic upper middle to upper income areas. All new stores will be in the new format and Notarnicola estimates that 85 percent of existing stores will have the space and lease permits to accommodate the new program and design and will be complete by next spring. He adds that the impact of the new design on buildout costs, which average $350,000, has been neutral. "The store has been cost-engineered to offset the costs of the new features," he says.