Meet Thomas Nørøxe – the New CEO of Joe & The Juice
This month, we had the absolute privilege to sit down with Thomas Nørøxe - the new CEO of Joe & The Juice. Thomas has been at the company for two years, previously as Chief of Staff, but he’s been involved with Joe & The Juice for much longer. Prior to this, he was a Partner at Valedo Partners, a private equity firm in Stockholm which recognised the power of the Joe & The Juice brand and invested in the business in 2013.
Thomas has been the company’s CEO since June this year. We hear all about how his first months are going below.
What started as a juice and coffee bar in Copenhagen is currently an internationally recognised brand with 300 locations in 16 countries. Tell us a little bit about the story of Joe & The Juice.
Joe & The Juice is a uniquely differentiated juice and coffee bar chain, with over 300 locations around the world. Our aim is to redefine the casual hangout spot by building a global lifestyle brand founded upon a truly distinctive ambience and experience, healthy and tasty made-to-order offerings, and a longstanding commitment to sustainability. Our customised, wellness-orientated offerings include a wide variety of signature drinks – juices, coffee, tea, shakes – and an expansive breakfast and lunch menu including salads, sandwiches, snacks, vegan items and more.
The first store was opened in Copenhagen in 2002 by our iconic founder, Kaspar Basse, with a Coca Cola fridge of fizzy drinks, beers and fruit, and a ritual called the ‘JOE handshake’ that our juicers had all mastered. Over the past two decades, our brand has seen significant growth in geographic footprint and brand recognition – from Denmark and the Nordics to the UK and US. The pandemic was difficult for the entire global food and beverage sector, but I can say that we’ve come out of it stronger than we were going into it. In fact, Q3 2021 is the best sales quarter we have ever had in the company.
You were recently promoted from Chief of Staff to CEO of the company. How is the transition process going?
It’s been an extremely busy quarter for me and the company, especially as our markets have been increasingly opening up after the many restrictions of the past 18 months. I’m thankful to have an experienced team at Joe & The Juice to help me hit the ground running.
In September we held a two-day strategy session for the global management team in Copenhagen to communicate and discuss our strategy and team approach, and to recognise our team and their extraordinary effort during the pandemic. This was also a good opportunity to speak to all the senior management about the leadership changes and any concerns they may have had. I am happy I have the full backing from the entire management team which makes the transition far simpler.
It’s definitely been a period of change and new challenges, but the work we did during the pandemic to strengthen our digital offerings and experience has put us on a very strong footing to execute our global growth plans.
What are some of the key goals you set for yourself?
I see my role as both protecting the legacy and unique brand of Joe & The Juice, and pushing the boundaries of how we can drive impact and satisfy consumers around the world. At our core is building a community that inspires passion and satisfaction, and that starts with our ~2,000 employees. Our juicers are the foundation of the Joe experience – the vast majority of customers say the service and ambient experience drive their connection to Joe – and indeed, 70% of our management team started behind the bar as juicers. Kaspar, our founder who remains closely involved with the business, and I are very focused on continuing to empower our employees to showcase their personalities and build lasting careers at our company. I have a goal for Joe & The Juice to help our employees to grow professionally and personally while working at Joe and we are developing a career development programme that includes partnership with graduate schools to complement internal development with external education.
Looking ahead, we have clear initiatives in mind to drive revenue gains, expand our global footprint, and achieve long-term profitable growth. One very specific goal is to double our current base of 300 global stores by 2025. I also want to continue pushing our innovation-focused initiatives – from plant-based offerings to reimagined store designs for a tech-enabled world, to market-leading food sustainability processes.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the closures that came with it, Joe & The Juice is doing incredibly well and has just recorded the company’s strongest revenue quarter (Q3 2021). How are you planning to build on this momentum?
What’s really driving our success over the past year and a half is our momentum in converting customers to our digital platform. One of the business’ biggest differentiators is the fierce loyalty the Joe & The Juice brand and community inspire in our customers. A primary goal as the pandemic hit was to seamlessly transition them to a convenient virtual experience on our Joe & The Juice app – which now has nearly 900,000 users.
At the same time, two-thirds of our restaurants remained open during the pandemic. We’ve done a great job of capturing higher demand across both in-person and digital channels, and sustaining our momentum with an omnichannel experience is a winning formula.
Our focus is on scaling our platform globally and I’m extremely confident in our strategy and our path to execution—we have years of growth and learning behind us and significant tailwinds from consumer megatrends including healthy eating and a focus on sustainable practices.
The US and the UK are priority markets for us. We plan to grow our presence in each significantly over the next five years, alongside a large expansion in Central Europe.
Tell us a little bit about Joe & The Juice’s ESG initiatives.
Being at the forefront of sustainable and inclusive practices is in our company’s DNA.
Minimising food waste is a particular focus for Joe & The Juice; we’ve actually developed a proprietary food waste app to track waste in real-time and we’re committed to delivering no more than 2% food waste. We’re also very much committed to the principle of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to lower the environmental emissions from our takeaway packaging. In a recent recycling pilot programme, we found that 60% of all waste from our juice bars is recycled.
What’s your go-to order at Joe & The Juice?
While I’ve come to love all of our juices after many years with the company, my favourite is Joe’s Identity. Often I’ll visit a store and order a Spicy Tuna along with my juice.