Feb. 24 2010 12:00 AM

Popular chain plans Lansing launch


Zoup! is coming to Lansing. Founder and managing partner Eric Ersher says the Midwest and Northeast regional chain is looking to soon fill the space between already established franchises in the Detroit and Grand Rapids markets.

“Lansing has been identified as a musthave market for Zoup!,” Ersher said. “There are two candidates up for the franchise in the Lansing market right now, and we hope to award one within the next four months.”

The time it takes to get a Zoup! restaurant up and running after naming a franchisee varies greatly, Ersher said. Securing real estate is usually the most cumbersome obstacle, typically taking anywhere from one to nine months. After a location is secured, a new Zoup! restaurant is within a couple months of opening.

Similar to the housing market, franchise location matters, matters, matters. Zoup! targets high-density environs, Ersher said, with an eye toward white collar demographics. So downtown Lansing is naturally an attractive location.

Zoup!’s menu boasts hundreds of soups, which rotate to feature 12 every day. Soups, served with “hunks” of bread — described by Ersher as "rolls on steroids” — come as sides (8 oz.), cups (12 oz.), bowls (16 oz.) or extra large bowls (32 oz.) Flavors include Mexican chicken, cheeseburger royale, tomato basil and pumpkin pie bisque. Sandwiches and salads are also available, and finicky diners can build their own salad, either at the restaurant or via an online interface to pick up later.

Zoup!, headquartered in Southfield, has 22 franchises located throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut.