WOWorks Acquires Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery
WOWorks Adds Two New Plant-Forward, Nutritious and Flavorful Restaurant Brands to their Portfolio of Better-for-You Fast-Casual Brands
May 13, 2022 // Franchising.com // ST. PETERSBURG, FL - WOWorks, the holding company of better-for-you restaurant brands, Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek, is acquiring Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery and fast-casual restaurant brands. These two brands share a common core DNA found across all WOWorks restaurant brands, where they not only satisfy appetites but also serve plant-forward, nutritious and flavorful food so guests can pursue their passions and live their best lives.
Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina is a Southwestern fast-casual burrito, taco, bowl and salad concept that allows guests to customize their order with their choice of proteins and toppings. Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina serves only 100% natural meals, including hormone-free and plant-based proteins, prepared and cooked every day, as well as farm-fresh, locally sourced ingredients to suit any dietary lifestyle. Founded in 2000 and based in Athens, GA, the brand has 50 franchise-owned restaurants and four company owned locations located primarily in the Southeast.
Zoup! Eatery is a fast-casual trend-setting concept centered around offering best-in-class soups, broth bowls, salads and sandwiches. Zoup! Eatery offers 12 rotating daily soups as part of an innovative menu that offers delicious, nutrient-dense food crafted from clean label ingredients. Founded in 1998 and based in Southfield, MI, Zoup! Eatery has 67 franchise-owned restaurants and one corporate-owned location. The brand was created with the mission to elevate the quality of soups available in restaurants and bring to life the intangible of comfort and warm often associated with soup. Zoup! is primarily located in the northern mid-central states and across the border in Ontario, Canada.
While Zoup! Eatery will join the WOWorks family of better-for-you restaurant brands, Zoup! Specialty Products, LLC, will continue to operate separately by Eric Ersher, the founder and previous CEO of Zoup! Systems, LLC. Zoup! Specialty Products are super-premium broth products created from clean ingredients that were designed to bring the brand’s restaurant quality taste to the retail market. Previously, Ersher had overall responsibility for strategic planning, concept and product evolution, quality, and franchise support for the Zoup! brand. Before creating Zoup!, Ersher was owner of Michigan Foods, which blended and wholesaled spices and custom spice blends.
“Today, we welcome both Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery to the WOWorks family,” said Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWorks enterprise, fully owned by Centre Lane Partners, LLC. “These brands share our overall goal to grow into one of the largest plant-forward, good-for-you companies in the restaurant sector. Equally as important, both brands are in direct alignment with our WOWorks Vision, Mission and Shared Values (BE Passionate, BE Inventive, BE Accountable, BE Fulfilled, and BE Real). They are dedicated to fueling the passions of their team members, guests, partners and communities to give everyone the opportunity to live their best life.”
“In closing, we are incredibly proud of our entire WOWorks family and excited to welcome Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery to our portfolio of brands. Together, we look forward to fueling the ‘Originality’ of our team members, guests, business partners and communities and giving everyone the opportunity to live their best life,” said Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWorks.
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