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Search Results for: soup

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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‘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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McCafe = Coffee + Soups +Sandwiches + Pastries

I don’t know anybody who hates McDonald’s coffee the way some hate Starbucks coffee (mostly they say it is too strong or bitter). Nevertheless, McDonald’s is testing the McCafe concept in Japan. The company opened 15 “McCafe” cafe-style outlets in and around Tokyo, aiming at catering to a wider range of customers and serving soft drinks, soups, sandwiches, pastries and ice creams. 10 McCafe’s were opened inside existing traditional McDonald’s restaurants, while the rest were launched by renovating smaller restaurants. It looks exactly like the Starbucks tucked in the corner of Target, or the cafes in Barnes & Noble.  From the photo, you can clearly see the snacks are well above the quality of the hot apple pocket pie served by McDonald’s – you can see large cakes (carrot cake), danishes, and other pastries you expect to find in a Panera Bread bakery, albeit none of the goodies are baked onsite at McCafe.  I am sure this has been in the works for many years, and was confirmed to launch as a competitive response to Dunkin’ Donuts successful coffee brand upgrade in recent years.

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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 franchises

I’m sticking with my prediction and reasoning that soup focused franchises such as Simply Soup Co., Zoup, and San Francisco Soup Co. will be one of the fastest growing QSR segments. My favorite soup is Butternut Squash, by the way 😉 Related:  soup posts at Franchise Pundit Insightful articles about Zoup:  article 1, article 2

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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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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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Last Minute Gift for 19-35 year olds – the book BALLSY

If you are in a bind and need a quick gift for someone in the late teens to 30s, I recommend the book BALLSY: 99 Ways to Grow a Bigger Pair and Score Extreme Business Success by Karen Salmansoh.   It is in-your-face, real world advice and inspiration for your career, whatever field you’re in.  It’s the opposite of academic, and gives the advice a wise old CEO would give after a few gin and tonics.  It’s not a long book, it only has a few sentences on each page with pictures, but it focuses on the importance of marketing yourself and your talents, dealing with people, and getting yourself into positions that will eventually lead to more opportunity and “luck”.  I’ve found a lot of it to be true after being in the workforce for 20 years, and would have benefited from this type of advice early in my career. Here’s a some of my favorite samples: Tip #1&2 /  More important than talent, have balls. Sure, talent matters, but if you don’t have balls, your talent won’t matter – because nobody will ever find out about all your swell stuff. Fact: If you’re seeking extreme success, you cannot be afraid to go against the crown, make mistakes, look dumb. If you want ot reach extreme heights in your career, get over your fear of fail.  You must become confident in your abilities to deal with any crisis or obstacle if you plan to pursue your passions with cockiness, vigor and sense of playful adventure need to snag ’em. Tip #3 /  There are no wishy-washy rock stars, no wishy-washy astronauts, no wishy-washy CEOs, no wishy-washy nobel price winners. Be like a cockroach, survive everything nature and man can throw at you for millions of years.  If you …

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Franchisors at or near Bankruptcy

Here is a partial list of franchisors that have filed bankruptcy, or are reported near filing bankruptcy recently. Perkins Marie Callender’s Old Country Buffet Real Mex Restaurants Giordano’s Cork and Olive Dial-a-Mattress Bally Total Fitness Friendly’s Souper Salad Sbarro Dippin’ Dots The Little Gym Fatburger (A little controversial -Fatburger parent company not part of bankruptcy, but the two subsidiaries accounted for 72% its total revenue in 2008. The bankruptcy came under pressure from G.E. Capital Business Asset Funding, which Fatburger owed $3.9 million for defaulted loans.) Mrs. Fields / TCBY A bit older bankruptcies.  It shows that some brands can recover quite well, especially Denny’s, Day’s Inn, 7-Eleven and Church’s Chicken: Bennigan’s – 2008 Baker’s Square – 2008 Roadhouse Grill – 2007 Ground Round -2004 Boston Market – 1998 Denny’s – 1997 Church’s Chicken – 1991 Sizzler’s – 1996 Krystal – 1995 Day’s Inn – 1990 7-Eleven – 1990

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Brave Entrepreneurs

If you were looking for a location for your new coffee & bakery business, would you commit to a location that had a Homer’s restaurant and Erbert & Gerbert’ both fail there within the past year?   And, direct coffee competition from Starbucks, Kopeli and The Coffee House are all within two blocks?  I would be extremely hesitant. Nevertheless, aspiring franchisor Natalie Bubak of Lincoln, Nebraska will open a nuVibe Juice & Java in the serial failed location.  Gutsy. After Homer’s closed last May, Erbert & Gerbert’s lasted only a few months, apparently a victim of competition from downtown’s plethora of sandwich shops. There’s also a great deal of coffee shop competition in the area — Starbucks, Kopeli and The Coffee House are all within two blocks — but Bubak said she thinks nuVibe is different enough that it will complement, rather than take from, the existing coffee businesses. “I think we’re going to help each other, really,” she said. Besides coffee, nuVibe also serves all-natural fruit smoothies and gelato. And Bubak said she’s planning on adding some breakfast and lunch items to the menu, including hot cereal and soups. She said the new breakfast items will help fill what people have told her is a void in downtown. Bubak said she has the opportunity to have expanded offerings at the downtown nuVibe because the space is so much larger — 4,500 square feet compared with the 1,500 square feet she has at her Pioneer Woods location.

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Tart Frozen Yogurt a Fad? Roll Your Own?

Pinkberry Craze Frozen yogurt is hot again? Well, sort of. Given the implosion of the last frozen yogurt phase, you are wise to be cautious. The last frozen yogurt craze in the 1980’s and early-1990’s was lead by TCBY. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, TCBY’s same store sales fell 10%-15% annually between 1997 and 2004, particularly when the low-cal and low-fat versions were introduced. The International Dairy Foods Association reported frozen yogurt production in the U.S. went from 118 million gallons in 1990 to 65 million gallons in 2005, a 45 percent drop.This time Pinkberry sure seems to be all the buzz lately, even being features in a recent American Express ad and having their hip tart frozen yogurt dubbed “Crackberry” playfully implying an addiction is possible. Here are photos of a Pinkberry in Manhattan. Founded by Shelly Hwang (coming off several failed small restaurant ventures) and Young Lee (a solo designer), they effectively brought to Los Angeles the tart frozen yogurt now famous in South Korea.Pinkberry has apparently been stretching the healthiness of its yogurt, and in early April 2008 settled a law suit where it was accused of misrepresenting its product as “frozen yogurt” and making bogus health claims, including that the dessert was “all-natural.” Pinkberry admitted no wrongdoing but is paying $750,000 to a local food bank and $5,000 to the “victim”. The article implies that the recipe is not all natural and has higher calories than the founder claims.Nevertheless, sales of the tart frozen yogurt are impressive. Pinkberry has put forth in the media unit sales of $250,000/month and has generated a plethera of copycats across the country, including Berrie Good, Yogurberry, BerrySweet, Red Mango, and recently Berry Chill here in Chicago. Pinkberry has supposedly ceased selling franchises for now. The Concept …

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Wendy’s Following McDonald’s Lead on Coffee Bistro

A benefit mentioned on this blog before (see similar posts below and this McDonald’s post) of paying fees to a franchisor is their investment in research and development in the product or services offering. Wendy’s seems to be following McDonald’s lead in rolling out its own high-end coffee bistro called Javaccino. While McDonald’s seems to going the standalone route, Wendy’s is looking to carve out space in existing restaurants to offer gourmet coffee.

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Au Bon Pain franchise eliminates trans fats

BOSTON — Au Bon Pain has announced the 100-percent elimination of trans fats from its menu items, and the launch of a new Web site that provides in-depth nutrition information for consumers. The updated Web site features a “Smart Menu,” where site visitors can search for foods that fit their specific dietary needs, build an entire Au Bon Pain meal and view the nutrition information for that combination of food choices. Users simply select a nutritional requirement to search by, such as low sodium or high fiber, and choose a category of Au Bon Pain products, such as soups, sandwiches or bakery. The Smart Menu then displays the items in the selected category sorted by the nutritional requirement that the user selected, and users can add individual menu items to their virtual plate. The Smart Menu totals up the nutritional value of the items on the plate automatically, providing nutrition information such as net calories, carbohydrates, cholesterol, fiber, protein saturated fat and sodium. The Smart Menu also displays nutritional information for each individual item, as well as a list of ingredients. The Web site’s Cafe Menu also provides the FDA Nutrition Facts panel for each restaurant menu item.

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Qdoba Wants to Expand Despite Lack of Franchisees

Mexican-food chain to expand in Chicago area “We thought we had more interest from our franchisee base (in Chicago), but we didn’t,” Mr. Beisler said. “But we’re pleased with our existing stores.” Qdoba plans to focus on opening corporate-owned restaurants from the northern border of Cook County down to Indiana. One franchisee has purchased the right to develop Qdobas in Lake County. The company is counting on its established stores in the Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis areas to boost brand recognition in Chicago. After seven years of same-store sales growth, Mr. Beisler said now is the time for Qdoba to aggressively expand into markets such as Chicago, Manhattan, Seattle and Minneapolis. The company currently has 375 stores in 40 states. … Qdoba — a made-up word that Mr. Beisler said resonated with him — serves burritos, salads, soups, nachos and tacos. “There’s nothing really Mexican about cilantro lime rice, poblano pesto or tortilla soup,” he said. “We’re modern, nouveau Mexican.”

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Top 10 of 2007

Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500’s Best Franchise Businesses — Franchise 500 Top 10 Entrepreneur managezine’s best of the best. Subway Dunkin’ Donuts Jackson Hewitt Tax Service 7-Eleven (the recently bought out the White Hen chain in Illinois) UPS Store Domino’s Jiffy Lube Sonic Drive In Restaurants McDonald’s Papa John’s Pizza link to the the remaining 500. Here are a few I noticed in particular (some for good, some for bad reasons): 384. Nature’s Way Cafe: Healthy foods, salads, wraps, soups, smoothies 325. Cash Plus Inc. : Check cashing & related services 312. Rent-A-Wreck: Auto rentals & leasing 298. Steak n Shake: Steakburgers, fries, milkshakes 273. Nestle Toll House Cafe by Chip: Cookies, baked goods, coffee, ice cream 252. HomeVestors of America Inc. : Home buying, repair & selling system 225. It’s Just Lunch Int’l. LLC: Dating service 212. Pita Pit Inc.: Pita sandwiches 151. Super Suppers: Do-it-yourself home meal preparation 105. Bark Busters Home Dog Training: In-home dog training 87. Qdoba Mexican Grill :Fast-casual Mexican food 75. CiCi’s Pizza : All-you-can-eat pizza buffet 72. Sport Clips: Men’s sports-themed hair salon 58. Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shops: Gourmet sandwiches 56. Edible Arrangements: Floral-like designs from sculpted fresh fruit Franchise 500 Criteria (important): All companies, regardless of size, are judged by the same criteria: objective, quantifiable measures of a franchise operation. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. We also consider the number of years in business and length of time franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing. Financial data is audited by an independent CPA. We do not measure subjective elements such as franchisee satisfaction or management style, since these are judgments only you can make based on your own needs and experiences. The objective factors are …

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Example of a Clever Seasonal Menu

As you probably know, I’m positive on soup franchises. The Soup Box, an independent soup restaurant, supplements their summer months with Italian ice (gelato) made from scratch with natural fruits and juices. They coined the summer months storefront name as the “The Ice box” instead of “The Soup Box”. It provides a selecton of 12 hot homemade soups in the winter, and 6 in the summer when they make the Italian ice. Menus are posted daily on the Internet as well. It’s a small location, but I thought the idea was clever enough to mention as an example of maximizing the resources and opportunities. Does your restaurant franchise have a seasonal offering? I know the franchisee has little or no control over what they can sell, but it should be an evaluation point on hedging sales year-round.  When a customer wants to get into the Christmas spirit, why wouldn’t they (subconsciously) gravitate towards the fun, encouraging store that has their seasonal favorite flavors? Seasonal menus tend to do quite well. Ever have the Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks? Yum! The seasonal menu builds repeat customer business to predictably provide new selections that build on the goodwill and joy of the season. Good reviews for The Soup Box. The business also provides a good example of the flexibility a non-franchised store has over their business, compared to those locked in very strict franchise agreements that usually prevent any deviation from the standard offering.

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