Tropical Smoothie Café- Onboarding

Project Objective

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to work with a new business that will be franchising a Tropical Smoothie Café here in Rexburg, ID. They are planning a grand opening for May of this year and asked me to come on to their team to create an onboarding process for them. This ended up including some help editing their handbook, creating a quick reference guide for frequently asked questions in the handbook, a script for onboarding, and an onboarding presentation.

The Project

Quick Reference Guide

Onboarding Script

*Photo on second page is a placeholder as we await professional photos of the owners and manager

Onboarding Presentation

*Photo on second page is a placeholder as we await professional photos of the owners and manager


An interesting hurdle that came up during this project was access to Tropical Smoothie Café’s colors, type, and other assets. They did not release a typical media package to my clients with color codes and typefaces; we also did not have any stock photos to use. They did, however, send posters and other marketing material that I was able to use to get a sense of color scheme and how the organization liked the be positioned. Although this did make things a little more difficult, my clients did not have to be perfectly inline with the corporation design wise on their internal assets, so I was able to bring it close so that it would feel consistent, but also put my client’s own taste into it.


The first step in this process was meeting with my clients, Kelly, Nepal, and Alex. Kelly and Nepal are the franchisees, and Alex is coming on as their general manager. We met for the first time in January to go over their goals for onboarding and where they felt they needed the most help. We established that it would be beneficial to have a frequently asked questions sheet made up that would answer questions like, how to request time off and who to contact if you wake up sick before your shift. In addition to that, they wanted a presentation they could use with new employees to go over the crew member handbook and introduce them to the culture of the storefront. As franchisees, they had the ability to set some of their own standards based off a skeleton handbook provided by Tropical Smoothie Café corporate. This also meant that there was no standardized onboarding and that I would be building this process from scratch.

My next step after meeting with them, was familiarizing myself with their handbook. As I read, I also helped them to make small edits for clarity or fixing grammatical errors. I timed myself reading to understand how long it would take for the average employee to get through the book because the owners had expressed to me that they would like that to be apart of orientation.

From there, I began building a quick reference guide based off questions discussed in our initial meeting that my clients felt would come up frequently. In total, the sheet answers twelve questions covering employee discounts to dress code. In the guide, the employee can find a short answer to their question and a page number that corresponds to the handbook where they can look for additional information.

After the Quick Reference Guide was complete, I started scripting out the onboarding presentation. From our initial meeting I knew the key topics they wanted to cover in these slides and knew the other programs they had provided to them, including food handling, so I knew I did not have to cover anything in that arena. My goal for the script was for it to be almost identical to the actual presentation, but with more guided text that could be used word for word or as a jumping off point for the facilitator. The script also helped me to nail down everything that needed to be covered and get a sense for how the presentation would flow best. Once that was complete, I took it down to short prompts and brought that information into the actual presentation.

Throughout the entire project, I was in regular contact with my clients to give them updates and ask for feedback on what had been completed so far. When I felt that I was getting to the end my work, I schedule another meeting with them to present the documents. From that meeting, I was able to plug in more information that my clients did not have previously and make tweaks to get to the final rendition. After the content was finalized, I started in on the design of the slides and reference guide. They requested something simple and in theme with the brand’s commonly used phrase, “You’re on tropic time now”. Keeping this in mind, I used a bright green color, similar to one used often by the brand, in the quick reference guide, and used fruits throughout the presentation.

My Experience

I had a wonderful experience working with my clients and bringing this project to life. I had a lot of latitude creatively and my clients were great about making themselves accessible for updates and to give their feedback. It was fun to be able to stretch my skills in this way. I have not done a lot in creating programs, so I am really excited to see how this works for them, and I will be staying on with them until they begin implementing this program so I can help with any tweaks needed along the way. I spent many hours rehearsing how I wanted the presentation to go, playing with colors, and reading over my work again and again. The feedback I received from them helped me to grow and I look forward to bringing these news skills to new projects.


I was surprised by how time consuming this project was and how many renditions of each piece of it I went through before landing on the final results. Something I took away was to give myself the time to try a lot of different things, and to not get my heart set on one concept. I also found a lot of value in having as many people as possible look over my work, including my mentor, Johnny Lott, who has experience in creating programs like these and was able to give me a lot of tips and help me to bring what I had in mind to life. Having someone who had done projects similar to this before, made a huge difference and is definitely something I will continue to seek out in the future.