Souper Salad

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Souper! Salad!
Private
Industry Restaurant
Genre Casual dining
Founded 1978; 40 years ago (1978)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Founder Ray Barshick
Headquarters Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Number of locations
25 (October 2017)
Area served
Southwestern U.S.
Products salads • soup • pasta • bread sticks • desserts
Parent Brix Holdings, LLC
Website www.soupersalad.com

Souper Salad (stylized as Souper!Salad!) is an American restaurant chain based in Dallas, Texas. It is an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant serving fresh salads, made-from-scratch soups, homemade breads, and more. All locations are in the Southwestern United States, with the majority located in Texas. The chain is privately owned and has been in operation since 1978. As of October 2017, the chain had 25 locations.[1]

History[edit]

Signage

In 1978, the first Souper Salad was opened by Ray Barshick in Houston, Texas. Barshick subsequently opened locations all across Texas and then began to expand to the Western United States.[2] In 2009, the company began selling franchises.[3] By the middle of 2008, it had grown to 151 stores in 17 states[4] before declining to 80 stores at the end of 2010 as a result of the long recession that began in 2008 causing fewer people to dine at restaurants.[5]

In 2011, the parent corporation (SSI Holding Group Corp.) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to poor performance resulting from recession. From July 2011 to the September bankruptcy filing, at least 25 locations were closed, leaving 56 locations in operation.[2] In 2012, Souper Salad was acquired by LNC Ventures, which was owned by Dan and Jackie Hernandez. By late 2013, the chain was down to 45 locations.[6] In 2014, the company, with 37 locations, was acquired by Brix Holdings, LLC., which is based in Dallas.[5][7] After the acquisition, Dan Hernandez remained president of Souper Salad until 2016. [8]

Locations[edit]

Restaurant in "futuristic building"

The company operates restaurants in ten cities in Texas.[9] Franchised locations are in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.[10] The first location in South Texas opened in McAllen in October 2016. This location is the first of a new contemporary design and a kitchen with induction cooking.[11]

One location in Phoenix, Arizona is located in a former modernist bank building designed by architect Wenceslao Sarmiento.[12][13] The building, originally home to a branch of Western Savings and Loan outside the Metrocenter mall, was listed as one of the "10 Coolest Buildings in Metro Phoenix" by Phoenix New Times in 2014[14] and a "architectural marvel" by AZfamily.com in 2016.[15] When built in 1975, it was futuristic or mid-century modern with a ribbed conical tower clearly visible from the adjacent Interstate 17.[14]

Format[edit]

Souper Salad provides prepared salads and a variety of salad ingredients and dressings at a self-serve salad bar that can be 45 ft (14 m) in length.[16] Four different soups are provided daily, as well as breadsticks, a selection of muffins, pizza, baked potatoes, pastas, tacos. Desserts include fresh and canned fruits, strawberry shortcake, pudding, brownies, and soft serve ice cream.[9][17] Specific menu items change daily and seasonally.[11] The company says the food is made fresh daily in each store (without use of centralized offsite facilities) and free of trans-fats since 2007.[18] It also provides gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options.[11] It has offered a variety of seafood options including fish soups, salads, and tacos for the Lenten season.[19] Sandwiches were tested in 2008 in San Antonio.[18]

Marketing[edit]

Customers who joined the Souper Fresh Club by providing personal information and an email address receive discount coupons electronically as well as a coupon for an annual free birthday meal.[20] The program was later changed such that purchases earn "points" towards rewards as well as a coupon for a discounted birthday meal.[21]

A study of casual dining chains by the consumer intelligence firm Market Force Information in 2013 ranked Souper Salad as the first in the buffet category. The study of over 7000 consumers praised the chain for the healthiness of its food.[22]

Litigation[edit]

In 2014, the company settled a class action lawsuit brought by employees alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The suit claimed that tipped workers were not fairly paid for required duties such as cleaning, stocking, and other general activities that did not directly generate customer tips, thus having the effect of working for less than the minimum wage during the portions of shift spent performing such duties. The US Department of Labor says employees should not be classified as tip-only employees if they perform non-tipped work more than 20% of the time. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The suit asked for minimum wage differential compensation, as well as damages, attorney's fees, and interest.[6]

LNC Ventures[edit]

Dan and Jackie Hernandez were 2003 graduates from the University of Texas and Texas A&M when they began frequenting an Austin Souper Salad. They operated eight Subway franchises in Laredo and Cotulla until 2010 when they were sold in order to purchase a Souper Salad in San Antonio. They opened a second San Antonio location in 2011.[23] Their company, LNC Ventures later bought brought the chain after the 2011 bankruptcy for approximately $4 million.[24] LNC divested many company stores to franchise-owned locations, with 22 of 45 locations being franchises by July 2013.[25]

Parent[edit]

Brix Holdings, LLC. acquired Souper Salad in 2014.[5] Brix Holdings operates several other restaurant chains, including RedBrick Pizza, Red Mango Cafe, Smoothie Factory Juice Bar, and Greenz.[26] Brix determined that reducing store size from 7,000 sq ft (650 m2) by 50% made stores more profitable.[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Locations | Souper Salad". soupersalad.com. Retrieved October 16, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Ruggless, Ron (September 16, 2011). "Souper Salad files for bankruptcy protection". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  3. ^ Stapp Herold, Tracy (October 26, 2015). "Be Your Own Boss: Here's a List of Almost 1,000 Franchise Opportunities". Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  4. ^ Ruggless, Ron (August 13, 2008). "As new CEO, Taft looks to strengthen Souper Salad, Grandy's". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Jennings, Lisa (September 5, 2014). "Brix acquires Souper Salad and Greenz". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Salvatore, Cara (April 23, 2014). "Souper Salad Settles FLSA Suit With Tipped Workers". Law360. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  7. ^ "BRIX Holdings, LLC Acquires Souper Salad® and Greenz®". www.prnewswire.com. September 4, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2016. 
  8. ^ http://www.restaurantnews.com/brix-holdings-promotes-craig-erlich-to-president/
  9. ^ a b "Company Overview of Souper Salad, Incorporated". bloomberg.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Store Locator". soupersalad.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c "Souper Salad Makes its South Texas Debut". QSR Magazine. October 24, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Welcome to PHX!". erinwilliamsondesign.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Some of our favorite buildings that are Left of Central in Phoenix, Arizona". modernphoenix.net. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  14. ^ a b Johnson, Katie. "10 Coolest Buildings in Metro Phoenix". Phoenix New Times (April 21, 2014). Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  15. ^ Lee, Brandon (December 28, 2016). "Grassroots movement to save midcentury marvels in Phoenix". azfamily.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes; eat healthy meals at Souper Salad". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Lubbock, Texas. March 4, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Menu". soupersalad.com. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Walkup, Carolyn (February 4, 2008). "Soup chains broaden menus amid sales chill". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Souper Salad adds seafood items for Lent". Nation's Restaurant News. February 27, 2009. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Souper Salad Souper Fresh Club". Restaurant Business (Volume 106, Issues1-4). Restaurant Business. January 2007. p. 122. 
  21. ^ "Welcome to the Souper Fresh Club". Retrieved November 3, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Maggiano's Named America's Favorite Casual-Dining Restaurant". RestaurantNews.com. May 8, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  23. ^ Garcia, Guillermo (November 15, 2011). "For the love of soup and franchises". mySA. San Antonio Express News. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  24. ^ Gibb, Gordon (May 15, 2014). "Plaintiffs in Texas Employment Lawsuit Settle "Souper" Wage Dispute". LawyersandSettlements.com. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Souper Salad Refranchises 16 Units to Date". Restaurant Magazine. July 10, 2013. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Souper Salad to hold Grand Opening Event". Midland Reporter-Telegram. Midland, Texas. April 21, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  27. ^ Tice, Carol (February 25, 2015). "Turn Around Your Floundering Franchise: 7 Steps The Pros Take". Forbs. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 

External links[edit]