International Franchise Expo in New York Attracts 450 Franchises, Participants Include Soupman

By @ibtimesau on
A young Hungarian man holds a dish in his hands at a soup kitchen where Hungarian Ecumenical Charity distributes free lunch to the needy ahead of iChristmas in Budapest, December 23, 2013.
A young Hungarian man holds a dish in his hands at a soup kitchen where Hungarian Ecumenical Charity distributes free lunch to the needy ahead of iChristmas in Budapest, December 23, 2013. The charity gave out over a 1,000 portions of food every day in the past six days in the Hungarian capital city. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo REUTERS

More than 450 franchises are participating in the International Franchise Expo to be held on June 19 to 21 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The event offers franchise business opportunities to entrepreneurs via 70 seminars and in-depth symposia.

It is expected to draw thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners to discuss industry trend and international franchise opportunities.

One of those participating is Soupman, Inc. (OTC: SOUP), the parent company of the best-tasting soup brand in the world, The Original Soupman. The company, located at Booth #1136, is offering new and inventive ways for people interested in owning a piece of the brand.

Lloyd Sugarman, chief executive officer of The Original Soupman, said in a statement, "The past year has been an exciting time for our brand, with new initiatives and partners coming on board to enhance our franchise experience."

He added, "We look forward to showcasing our brand's flexible footprint, superior menu and experience support team to IFE attendees. From the food truck revolution to the full scale delicatessen, we are confident that our brand offers immense opportunities to entrepreneurs nationwide."

Besides the known high quality of products offered by Soupman, what would help future franchisees bring in customers is basketball icon Shaquille O'Neal recently becoming a joint venture partner of the firm for its SoupMobile franchising program. O'Neal has actually been a partner of Soupman for a long time as strategic advisor.

His move from advisor to JV partner is part of Soupman's efforts to bring its products closer to the rest of the United States. Together with Marcus Crawford of Amongst Elite LLC, the two will push for the development of Soupman's franchisee program, riding on the latest food trend as food trucks log an annual growth rate of 8.4 percent from 2007 to 2012.

In the same five-year period, the food truck business earned $1.5 billion in revenues, created 15,500 jobs spread in 1,500 new businesses. By 2017, analysts forecast the food truck market to generate $2.7 billion more in revenues.

Among the newly opened food truck businesses is Soupman's New York Delicatessen & Restaurant, which is an extension of The Original Soupman storefront. It offers authentic Big Apple delicatessen dishes such as Al's 42 St. Ruben, Thanksgiving Day Parade, fresh sliced pastrami, corned beef and lobster rolls.

In the next five years, the company plans to have 100 more such stores on the road via the Delicatessen & Restaurant concept and the Soupmobile food truck to be located in airports, casinos, storefronts and street fronts.

Sugarman said the mobile franchise "is a low-cost, branded business opportunity that we believe is perfect for dedicated, passionate operators including veterans."

Crawford added, "The combination of our brand's strength, the food truck trend, and the fact that his is a low-cost franchise business, should make the SoupMobile a one-of-a-kind franchise opportunity, which is what drew Shaquille and I to the business."

The Original Soupman first opened in 1984 at 55th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan. Since then, the company has expanded, selling soup to groceries and foodservice operators across the US. It also has franchised restaurants.

The company has a market capitalization of $12.51 million and over 500 franchises throughout the US. The first franchise was opened on March 3, 2008 at a college campus in the Russell House University Union at the University of South Carolina. 

In its latest filing with the SEC on its operating results for the last six months ended February 28, 2014, Soupman had revenue of $1.873 billion.

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