Zoup! Stirs Up Pontiac

Fast-casual Soup Restaurant Looks to Feed Consumer Demand for Healthy Dining; Features Hundreds of Award-Winning Soups

April 15, 2011 // Franchising.com // SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – As consumers continue to seek fresh, healthy dining options for their on-the-go lifestyles, Zoup! Fresh Soup Company is stirring up the pot in Pontiac, Mich, with the re-opening of its restaurant located at 3999 Centerpoint Parkway. The location, which will celebrate its grand re-opening on April 14, 2011, will continue feeding a hearty base of consumer appetites with its hundreds of award-winning soups.

After originally opening in 2005 and operating as a corporate owned store, the company recently signed a franchise deal with the new Pontiac store owners Karl Lewis and Krista Wiseman. Already the hottest soup spot in Detroit and a regional favorite throughout the Midwest and Northeast with 31 restaurants in eight states, Zoup!'s re-opening in Pontiac is part of an aggressive growth plan to expand its unique concept and menu throughout the northern half of the United States.

"I'm incredibly excited about continuing the trend of feeding the local appetite with a variety of soups," said Karl Lewis. "While our dedication to quality service and food remains the same, we have incorporated changes to the store to enhance the customer experience, such as a new oven to shorten the preparation time for sandwiches, new seating, along with various equipment repairs to improve staff efficiency."

As a seasoned entrepreneur, Karl Lewis spent 25 years working in the sales industry. After growing tired of the corporate America rat race, Lewis retired in 2009 and became the franchise owner of a local hair salon. After becoming a loyal fan of Zoup! Lewis knew joining the Zoup! franchise system was the perfect opportunity for him to continue fulfilling his entrepreneurial spirit and become the owner of a concept he was a regular customer with. While Lewis will be handling the day-to-day operations within the store, his fiancé Krista Wiseman will be handling marketing efforts. As a veteran in the entertainment industry, Wiseman began modeling and acting at the age of 15.

Zoup! features hundreds of award-winning soups with 12 rotating daily varieties, including low-fat, vegetarian, dairy-free, low-points and gluten-free options. According to Zoup!'s Founder and Managing Partner, Eric Ersher, "We created Zoup! after discovering that really good soup is hard to find. Also, in talking to people, it became clear that there's something special about soup and the way it elicits thoughts of family, well-being and comfort for many people. We strive to offer authentic, hand-crafted soups that are as good – and as "feel-good" – as the homemade soups our mothers and grandmothers used to cook up."

Zoup!'s "Something for Everyone" nutritional offerings include low-fat soups such as Veggie Waves of Grain, Old Fashion Chicken Noodle and Frontier 7 Bean, dairy-free soups like the Mulligatawny and Sesame Noodle Bowl, vegetarian soups, including Tomato Bisque and Spicy Italian Vegetable, low-points options such as Spicy Black Bean Chili and Wild Mushroom Barley and gluten-free choices such like the Tomato Spinach and Brown Rice. Customer favorites also include Chicken Pot Pie, Lobster Bisque and Vegetarian Split Pea.

To help customers select from the soups offered each day, Zoup! encourages sampling. "It's one of the most important and most fun things we offer at Zoup!," says Ersher. "We want our customers to try our soups before ordering because we want to be sure that they always enjoy their meal." Prices range from $4.65 to $6.95 for a bowl of soup. The menu also includes fresh, made-to-order GreenZ! Salads, grilled and rolled SandwicheZ! and an array of baked goods and beverages.

For time-starved customers looking for a quick, nutritious meal, Zoup! offers streamlined online ordering. The online system includes a location finder, a complete menu with the day's soups, and online catering ordering and rewards program tracking. The catering rewards program offers customers the opportunity to earn a point for every dollar they spend on catering. Once customers reach 500 points, they will receive a $20 gift certificate.

To help celebrate the grand re-opening, Zoup! Centerpoint will be offering customers a free brownie or cookie with their purchase from Thursday, April 14, 2011 through Sunday, April 17, 2011. The hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 10:30 AM until 7:00 PM and Sunday from 12:00 PM until 5:00 PM.

For more information on Zoup! in Pontiac, visit www.zoup.com or call (248) 874.1111.

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 31 restaurants throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Illinois. For more information, visit www.zoup.com.

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