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? James White: Really, for us, we're focused on the things that are controllable. We've, historically, had a healthier workforce. We're advantaged by a workforce that is a little bit more youthful, so that's an advantage for us, and we view the new healthcare reform as one of the things that sifts in the external environment and we'll manage through that like we've managed through everything else but we don't see it as a detriment to our growth plans. Debra Borchardt: One of your other menu expansions is with the juice. Can we talk about the additional juices you've added? James White: We've very focused. We've had a couple pilot locations that are California-based, today, that reflect the expanded juice offering. We've added items to the menu, like kale and beets and ginger to really broaden our fresh juice offering. We've already had the largest fresh juice offering, with 800 locations delivering fresh juice, historically, but that expansion, we think, will cement us as the leader in this space. We'll combine with that, early this year, an overall refresh and remodel capital expansion that'll have us at about 100 of those expanded juice locations the first half of 2013, so we're excited about it. Debra Borchardt: What's your favorite item on the menu? James White: It's moving a little bit but the favorite food product is our steel-cut oatmeal, is my favorite food item on the menu. I have, in my hand, our Aloha Pineapple but I'm becoming a big fan of our fresh juices, either with kale or beets. Debra Borchardt: Well, it sounds like you're getting all his fruits and veggies in a smoothie. I wish my mom would have had a choice like this when I was little. --Written by Debra Borchardt in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt. Follow @WallandBroad