US: WOWorks acquires Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery

WOWorks now has more than 400 restaurants in the US and Canada
Image from Barberitos’ Facebook page

St. Petersburg, Florida-based WOWorks, the holding company of restaurant brands Saladworks, Frutta Bowls, Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and The Simple Greek, is acquiring Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery.

Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina is a Southwestern fast-casual burrito, taco, bowl and salad concept that allows customers to customise their order with a choice of proteins and toppings. It serves 100% natural meals, including hormone-free and plant-based proteins, prepared and cooked daily, as well as locally sourced ingredients. Founded in 2000 and based in Athens, Georgia, the brand has 50 franchise-owned restaurants and four company-owned locations primarily located in Southeast US.

Zoup! Eatery is a fast-casual concept centred around soups, broth bowls, salads and sandwiches. Zoup! Eatery offers 12 rotating daily soups as part of a menu that offers nutrient-dense food crafted from clean label ingredients. Founded in 1998 and based in Southfield, Michigan, the company has 67 franchise-owned restaurants and one corporate-owned location. Zoup! is primarily located in the Northern Mid-Central states and across the border in Ontario, Canada.

While Zoup! Eatery will join the WOWorks restaurant brand, Zoup! Specialty Products will continue to operate separately under Eric Ersher, the founder and previous chief executive of Zoup! Systems.

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.

Kelly Roddy, chief executive of WOWorks enterprise, fully owned by Centre Lane Partners, said: “Today, we welcome both Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery to the WOWorks family. 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. They are dedicated to fuelling the passions of their team members, guests, partners and communities to give everyone the opportunity to live their best life.”

Following the acquisitions, WOWorks has more than 400 restaurants.