Dr Smood takes over the US one healthy meal at a time

Danish company succeeds in the US with organic and holistic approach to food.

Danish business developer René Sindlev and his wife founded Dr Smood because they were unimpressed with Danish fast food chains. Four years ago, they decided to take matters into their own hands. They developed a health food concept, resulting in a café in Miami — today, there are five Dr
Smood locations in Miami, four in New York, and more to open soon.

The business has established itself as a healthy to-go café selling juices, teas, organic coffee, sandwiches and salads. They have a holistic approach to food, offer Detox Programs and consultations; everything is produced in-house, either on site or at local privately owned commissary kitchens.

Dr Smood promotional photo.

Denmark In NY talked to Kasper Kriby from Dr Smood. He moved to Miami, Florida 2,5 years ago, opening new stores, and being part of developing the concept. Today he runs business development out of New York.

How does Dr Smood position itself in a market where there are many other shops with a healthy to-go profile?
Dr Smood is different from others because we have a very ambitious goal of being the third place for people to go to when they are not at home or at work. We position Dr Smood as a premium retailer of USDA organic certified health foods and beverages. The way we check the quality of our food sources and compose our wide variety of products to elevate the nutritional intake is definitely a way in which we differentiate ourselves. We produce every product ourselves, fresh and on a daily basis.
Furthermore we are currently expanding our Smood Market division to make costumers able to buy our products for their homes. That includes everything from our proprietary organic espresso and tea blends, to supplements, oils and superfoods powders. 
Another way in which we differentiate ourselves is with our so-called “hosts”, who guide our customers in store to make sure that guests receive the kind of nutritional guidance they are looking for.

There are no Dr Smood’s in Denmark. Why do you focus on the American market only?
Demographically and experience wise, America proved itself to be the ideal market to venture into. René Sindlev (CEO and founder) possesses valuable experience, having previously taken Pandora Jewelry into the American market. A company that he also took public. It is an advantage for us to test this concept in the US, but we are definitely also looking to expand the Dr Smood brand outside of the American market.

Dr Smood promotional photo.

Are there any Danish values or other aspects of building a business that seem to work in the US?
First, there is the typical Danish organizational trait, meaning that we have a very flat business structure. That has definitely proven to be a very valuable way to organize ourselves if you look at the creative and development aspects of doing business. When it comes to the actual retail operation, we have learned that wanting to keep the structure flat is not the most effective way to structure Dr Smood. Americans seem to execute on a more horizontal level. We still spend a lot of time developing roles, paths, and chains of communication to make sure that everybody knows what to do and what is expected of their position in the company. Employees with an American background and work culture seem to value clear expectations and roles in their everyday lives.

What does the future hold for Dr Smood?
We definitely see growth in the future of Dr Smood. We actually opened the current four NYC locations over the span of four months, and now we will take a step back to optimize and further develop the concept, before we open more shops in NYC. At the same time, we are currently negotiating with a handful of potential partners across the Atlantic, both in Europe and Asia. Let’s see what 2018 brings :-)


Silke Baumann is the Press, Culture & Public Diplomacy Intern at Denmark In NY.

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