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‘Seinfeld’ Soup Nazi Franchises Troubled

SoupMan Bid to Turn ‘Seinfeld’ Fame Into Empire Goes Off the Boil David B. Caruso, Associated Press reports: The chef who inspired the Soup Nazi character on “Seinfeld” makes a heck of a crab bisque, but a group of stewed investors says he’s having problems expanding his popular stand into a franchise empire. Soupmaker Al Yeganeh closed his original Manhattan shop, famous for its strict ordering rules, in 2004 to focus on franchising Original SoupMan stores across the country. The company launched around 40 stores in its first two years and introduced its frozen soups to groceries. But disgruntled franchisees say many of the new shops didn’t make it through their first year: At least eight have closed for good. Two more have shut their doors for now, although the company said it has deals in the works to reopen them. Other franchisees told The Associated Press they want out of their contracts because of poor profits or bad relationships with the company. Several have sent the company letters threatening to sue. Kevin Long, whose Original SoupMan franchise in Scranton, Pa., lasted just one winter, accused the company of misrepresenting how much it would cost to open and run the business. He and other franchisees said the company also had early problems with its bowl and cup sizes, which were larger than expected and inadvertently gave patrons more soup than they paid for, and never lived up to promises to provide a product line that would sell during the summers, when demand for hot soups is low. “They are just trying to get as many stores open as possible, and they aren’t supporting them whatsoever,” Long said. Prices of $7 to $11 per 12-ounce bowl also made it tough to attract repeat customers, he added. At least three stores …

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Soup Nazi – a first look at Soupman

About 25 Original SoupMan Cafés have opened (plus a wholesale business) since Yeganeh began to franchise his restaurants last year based on his original Soup Kitchen International in New York. One blogger feels that $7.95 for a bowl of soup from the Soupman (Soup Nazi from Seinfeld) is too pricey. He posted some pictures too. Considering I paid about $5 for a grande, sugar-free Cinnamon Dolcé Latte at Starbucks today, 3 more dollars for hearty veggies and/or meat seems with the reasonable range. Previous mentions of Soup Nazi

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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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The Original SoupMan and Cold Stone Creamery Franchises Team Up

Soup Kitchen International, the creators of the Zagat-rated soups of Al Yeganeh, the legendary soup man who inspired the “Soup Episode” on Seinfeld, and Cold Stone Creamery, today announced the grand opening of the first The Original SoupMan/Cold Stone Creamery at 2 Astor Place in New York, NY in early November. Recent Penn State graduate Daniel Petryszyn is opening the first hybrid, co-branded franchise that will feature both The Original SoupMan’s world-renowned soups and Cold Stone Creamery’s super-premium ice cream. Petryszyn’s Original SoupMan/Cold Stone Creamery, in addition to ice cream, will showcase Yeganeh’s 50 varieties of soup as the “centerpiece of the meal.” Each meal will be presented with a piece of fresh, crusty baguette, fresh fruit and a piece of imported chocolate — just like Al Yeganeh served it at his original shop. As Yeganeh explains it, this is simply “the way to eat.” Alongside Yeganeh’s 50 varieties of soup there will also be an extensive line of gourmet salads and sandwiches. “Customers demand choice and innovation,” said Dan Beem, Cold Stone Creamery President. “We’re pleased and excited to explore these opportunities with the Original SoupMan to introduce both the highest quality, most creative ice cream experience alongside premium, gourmet soups, all under one roof.” It was reported on Let’s Talk Franchising that  “Seinfeld’ Soup Nazi Franchises Troubled”  that disgruntled franchisees say many of the franchises didn’t make it through their first year: At least eight have closed for good. Two more have shut their doors for now, although the company said it has deals in the works to reopen them. Cross Posted at Let’s Talk Franchising

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Franchisor Mentions

VERY OUT OF DATE.  Do a search instead.  This was manually updated March 21, 2006 Companies Mentioned in Posts (likely incomplete):Automotive 1-800 RADIATORS Oil Butler Lube N’ Go On-Site-Lube Business & Home Services 1-800-WATER-DAMAGE Bartercard Garagetek Help-U-Sell Home Instead Homewatch Caregivers My Girl Friday PropertyGuys.com Sears Carpet & Upholstery Tax Centers of America Cleaning & Maintenance none Computer & Internet (some are listed in “Retail”) Screenz Food and Restaurant Arby’s Auntie Anne’s Blimpies Cheeburger Cheeburger Chipotle Dippin’ Dots Dream Dinners Doc Green’s Gourmet Salad Dominic’s of New York The Dugout Durango Grill Fazoli’s Fire of Brazil Fogo de Chao Goldstar Chili Jamba Juice Jerq’zine Krispy Kream Lenny’s Sub Shops Mauwi Wauwi Original Hamburger Stand Panaderia Taza Papa John’s Pizza Factory Pizza Patron Pretzel Time Quiznos Red Rock Chili San Francisco Soup Co Shane’s Rib Shack Skyline Chili Smoothie King Smotthie Planet Soup Nazi Steak-out Subway Submarina Sub Station II Super Suppers The Soup Box Supercuts Suzanne’s Kitchen We’re Rolling Pretzel Company Wetzel’s Pretzels Z Pizza Zoup! Fresh Soup Co (List all sub franchises) Health & Fitness Curves Liberty Fitness Home Building & Repair Services See “Business and Home Services” above Personnel & Staffing none Pet Retail and Services Camp Bow Wow Doody Calls The Pet Pantry Wag My Tail Interquest Detection Canines Pets Are Inn Retail Franchises Ace Hardware AuctionDrop Battery Plus Best Cuts GNC Educational Outfitters Fantastic Sams Fastframe Foot Solutions Friendly Computers Geeks on Call GNC Hair Cuttery Herman’s World of Sports Imagine This Sold Orbit Drop Play It Again Sports QuikDrop Roosters Men’s Grooming Centers Screenz Snips Its Sports Clips Stone Mountain Carpet Mill Tom’s Foods We the People Categories: eBay drop offs (generally) Hair Travel & Hotel none Industry Lists & Research 2004 Same Store Sales Growth of QSRs (quick service restaurants) Royalty and Advertising …

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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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