Soupman Inc., the New York-based parent of the Original SoupMan restaurants and retail line of soups, has named veteran restaurateur Lloyd Sugarman chief executive.
Sugarman, who also franchises 17 Johnny Rockets restaurants in seven states, plans to expand both the restaurant and retail branches of the 29-year old soup-centric company, which was made famous on the “Seinfeld” show.
Sugarman succeeds Arnold Casale, who will remain on the board and continue to be involved in the retail side of the business.
Tim Gannon, the cofounder of Outback Steakhouse, Inc., also has been named to Soupman’s board.
“We believe that Lloyd’s unique combination of business acumen, creative thinking, and incredible passion and energy make him an ideal fit to lead our management team at Soupman,” said Robert Bertrand, president of Soupman. “He thinks big and has shown that he knows how to execute.
“Soupman is at a pivotal point in our growth with product presence in grocery stores and growing our deli franchise.”
The company has about 11 licensed restaurants — including five cobranded operations — operating under the Original SoupMan brand, but said it plans to franchise a new concept with a wider menu called Al’s Famous New York Delicatessen & Restaurant. It also inked a multi-unit licensing deal to open the concept in casinos around the country and in Canada.
According to the company’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the concept will include seating and is projected to generate annual unit sales of up to $4 million or $5 million.
The next two openings are slated for Mohegan Resorts Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., and the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania.
The company also said it will continue to look for cobranding partners. Current partners include Tim Hortons, Cold Stone Creamery, Red Mango and Ranch 1.
Sugarman, who is a cofounder of Johnny Rockets, began franchising the brand restaurants in 1986 and today operates some of the brand’s highest-grossing locations, generating annual sales in excess of $24 million. In 2010 he became an area developer for the Original SoupMan and currently operates three franchised units.