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I wouldn’t buy it

Follow up to the soup franchise idea

I’ve been thinking about the soup franchise idea more after the Soup Nazi article I posted. While I don’t think the Soup Nazi franchise is the one to buy (store size and look is bad, management is poor), I think the soup franchise concept does have real potential. The only soup franchise I know of that almost entirely focused on soup is ZOUP! Fresh Soup Company with a $25K franchise fee. The carryout business seems extra compelling too. Soup franchises can serve fast (how fast can you laddle soup?) and the changing menu of soups recipes can be infinite. Zoup, for example, has 12 soups daily. I think a soup focused franchise with a Panera Bread look and feel will be the next QSR boom.

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Soup Nazi for $30K

Al Yeganeh, the Soup Nazi character from the Seinfeld T.V show is franchising his soup restuarant. They’ve signed 123 deals so far, and they’re aiming for over 1,000 units.  The franchise fee is reported to be $30,000 with royalty and advertising fees totalling 6%. Special kiosks sold by the company and storefront locations will bear Yeganeh’s “The Original Soup Man” logo with his photo. For $10, customers will get eight ounces of soup _ from seafood bisque and chili to cold and exotic soups _ plus bread, a beverage, fresh fruit and a small chocolate. Can this work? I’ve seen a few soup focused franchises coming online lately (Zoup,San Francisco Soup Co.), but I’m skeptical of this small-scale soup franchise. They are making the soup in New Jersey where it will be frozen and shipping to franchisees. I’d feel much more comfortable franchising a nice soup and sandwich cafe, or sandwich cafe known for their soups like Panera Bread, Pickerman’s Soup & Sandwich Shop, Obee’s Soup Salad Subs, or Schlotzky’s. Strangely, as Professor Bainbridge points out, franchisees are prohibited to use the words “Soup Nazi” or “Seinfeld”. I wouldn’t buy it!

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Let’s look at a personal concierge service

I don’t get Entrepreneur Magazine sometimes. According to an article in the Las Vegas Business Press, Entrepreneur Magazine named a personal concierge service called “My Girl Friday” as one of the “hottest new franchises” in 2005. The first franchise was launched in 2005! How can a personal franchise business with one franchise in the personal concierge industry (seems I’ve been hearing its the hottest thing for the past 10 years) be named the “hottest” with ONE franchise? The article’s author showcases her lack of business knowledge in this paragraph: Hagenmaier projects that the Las Vegas operation of My Girl Friday will grow from one person to having from five to ten employees in the next 18 months. The company hires independent contractors, which mostly appeals to people willing to work flexible hours. Brommenschenkel explains that college students and retired workers make ideal independent contractors, because of their flexible schedules. By definition independent contractors are not employees. It’s a small issue but that stood out to me. Here’s more of the business description: Services cost clients anywhere from $30 to $60 an hour, depending on the chore…My Girl Friday offers a full menu of services including traditional concierge services, personal chefs, errand running, pet care, party planning and assisting with business tasks. She sounds like a personal assistant. So people will hire this woman as both a personal chef or party planner in Las Vegas? I suppose it is possible. In my opinion, there are not many errands worth $60/hour. Most things for a minimal fee can be delivered and arranged quickly from a web site or one minute telephone call (travel, food delivery, dry cleaning, courier, pet sitter or walker). This business will be fighting technology and streamlined personal services offered directly from the service supplier (remember what happened …

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