WOWorks, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based holding company of better-for-you restaurant brands, has acquired Southfield’s Zoup Eatery along with Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina.
Zoup Eatery is a fast-casual concept centered around offering best-in-class soups, broth bowls, salads and sandwiches. Each outlet offers 12 rotating daily soups as part of a menu that offers nutrient-dense food crafted from clean-label ingredients.
Founded in 1998, 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 in Ontario, Canada.
While Zoup Eatery will join the WOWorks family of brands, Zoup Specialty Products will continue to operate separately by Eric Ersher, founder and previous CEO of Zoup Systems.
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,” says Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWorks enterprise, fully owned by Centre Lane Partners. “These brands share our overall goal to grow into one of the largest plant-forward, good-for-you companies in the restaurant sector.”
Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina is a Southwest 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 100 percent 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.
As a result of these acquisitions, WOWorks now has six brands and will end the year with well more than 400 restaurants representing 10,000 jobs. WOWorks will take over both brands’ infrastructure and operations to drive growth.