Sometimes the saying “less is more” is appropriate, and sometimes the more you can offer your students, the better.
The team at Mantra Yoga Studio takes heed of the latter idea, and offer no shortage of options to their students beyond their yoga mats in the form of a wide assortment of juice, smoothies and snack bowls.
Mantra’s goal is providing fitness and nutrition in one location, and they do so seven days a week at their California-based studio and juice bar.
According to Melissa Smith, the co-owner of Mantra, over the 20 years she’s taught yoga, she noticed the nutrition component of her students’ healthy lifestyles was often lacking. So she set out to solve this problem within her studio. Students at Mantra can utilize a pre-order service before class begins, and their juice is ready for them by the time they come out of the studio.
“Our juice is completely fresh — there’s no sitting around in bottles,” said Smith.
In addition to supplementing her students’ healthy lifestyles, there’s also a benefit to Smiths’ studio. Because Mantra has a juice bar, students stay after class to enjoy a smoothie or juice together, which helps build community.
Having a juice bar also provides additional opportunities for Mantra staff. “They’re getting a well-rounded experience of our culture, they get to learn what’s in our juices, why we decide to drink juice after or before yoga, and they get to know the system,” explained Smith. “I find it’s a great training tool, saturating them into the culture of healthy eating and healthy thinking.”
Boasting a juice bar serves as a differentiator for Mantra and offers a competitive advantage. The studio markets the benefits of its juice bar by running an introductory special for those new to their services. Once a student has signed up for a membership and taken five classes, they receive $100 in “Mantra Bucks” to be used at the juice bar or on Mantra retail items.
For members looking to cleanse their systems, there’s a deal for that, too. Mantra encourages guests to try their one, three or five-day cleanse. All you have to do is call the juice bar within 24 hours of your daily cleanse start time, and a team member will make the juice fresh each morning. The cost of the cleanse ranges from $69 to $245.
Smith said owners who have juice bars or are considering the addition of one should remember they will be working with two separate businesses, likely under one roof, and should be mindful of treating them separately.
Dan Bonner manages the juice bar at Rootdown Yoga in Muskegon, Michigan. He said he appreciates the diverse atmosphere the juice bar creates.
“We have two different sets of clients — we have clientele that come in for juices and they laugh at the idea of taking a yoga class, and then we have clients that come in for yoga and they’ve never really ventured over to get a juice,” explained Bonner. “And then we have a lot of clients who come in for a yoga class and get a smoothie every single time, so it’s pretty cool how it all works together in that way.”
Bonner said even though a Michigan-based climate isn’t necessarily conducive to a juice bar or smoothie menu, being attached to a yoga studio helps business stay consistent, even in the winter months when customers aren’t necessarily craving a cool drink.
Rootdown’s mission surrounds helping clients rebuild balance and learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is also committed to building friendships, community and long-lasting alliances. “Having a juice bar with your yoga studio is awesome because it really does add another aspect of health and fitness — just another option for your yoga clients,” said Bonner. “But it’s a whole different animal than just getting a couple of blenders and a fridge for your produce.”
He explained operating the two businesses takes time, strategy and hands-on labor. “Everything we have is fresh — even the stuff we buy that’s frozen we buy from our local farmer’s market and hand wash it, cut it and freeze it ourselves,” said Bonner.
Bonner added the juice bar’s top selling smoothie is the Kokomo, which includes banana, organic peanut butter, Michigan blueberries, organic cacao and almond milk. He credits the smoothie’s popularity to being packed full of nutrients and high in protein.
Rootdown Yoga and the juice bar have been open since May 2016, and Bonner said other studio owners might be able to determine if a juice bar is right for their own space by answering one question: “How much time do you want to invest in it?”
If you aren’t willing to invest both time, money and resources, then you may want to consider avoiding a juice bar altogether.