Zoup! Fast Casual Franchise Stirs up Expansion by Feeding Consumer Appetite for Fresh, Healthy and Comforting Food

January 21, 2010 // Franchising.com // SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Powered by strong marketplace demand for healthy dining options, variety and convenience, Zoup! Fresh Soup Company is a hot commodity in franchising – feeding a hearty base of consumer and entrepreneurial appetites with plans to reach 100 units within five years.

Already the hottest soup spot in Detroit and a regional favorite throughout the Midwest and Northeast with 22 restaurants in six states, Zoup! is rapidly expanding its unique concept and menu throughout the northern half of the United States. Zoup! features hundreds of award-winning soups with 12 rotating daily varieties, including at least one low-fat, vegetarian, dairy-free and spicy recipe. The menu also includes made-to-order salads and sandwiches.

"In good times and bad, soup carries powerful and intangible qualities that provide comfort and promote a genuine sense of well-being for many people," said Eric Ersher, Founder and Managing Partner of Zoup!. "We've taken soup to the next level by giving consumers one-of-a-kind soup creations they love, but wouldn't make at home."

Using nothing but the finest and natural ingredients and no MSG, Zoup!'s prices range from $6.95 for a bowl of Lobster Bisque to $4.65 for a bowl of Split Pea. Each order is served with a hunk of fresh baked bread.

The emphasis on creating the best soup traces back to Ersher's time in the wholesale spice business in Detroit. He saw that many restaurants were using soup to get rid of leftover chicken and unused vegetables. Meanwhile, they began to question consumers, and the consensus was clear: Good soup – really good soup – was hard to find.

"In addition to our unique and diverse menu, we pride ourselves in the way we treat customers and franchise owners," Ersher added. "The Zoup! business format and culture is special. Every detail from the food to the physical restaurant has a specific feel, language and experience that is the result of what we call Zoup!isms.

Zoup!isms are a set of guiding principles that form the basis of Zoup!'s operating philosophy and provide a framework for decision-making and a strong brand image. According to Ersher, the Zoup!isms also dictate the brand's uncompromisingly high standards, which guarantee the authenticity and quality of every pot, bowl and cup served.

To augment growth, Zoup! is seeking franchisees with a strong desire to continue to grow an innovative and proven franchise concept, a keen desire to succeed and proven ability to motivate and train people, and manage finances. With a franchise fee of $39,000, the initial investment to own and operate a Zoup! restaurant is typically $219,900-$432,600 for a standard 2,000 square-foot location.

Each franchise owner receives the systems, support and technology they need to run their own successful business, including a simplified "no cook" format; state-of-the art POS, reporting and financial management tools; and turn-key marketing and communications programs.

About Zoup!

Founded in 1998, Zoup! is the leading fast-casual soup concept restaurant that is defining the category with its premium and proprietary soups and other recipes. A dining experience that features 12 always-rotating soup varieties each day in an environment that focuses on comfort, satisfaction and convenience, Zoup! has grown its network of franchises to 22 restaurants throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.

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