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Cold Stone, soup concept join forces

SCOTTSDALE Ariz. Cold Stone Creamery, franchisor of the mix-in ice cream chain, has entered into a partnership with the parent of Original Soupman soup chain to franchise new restaurant formats that combine the concepts.

Two variations will be offered, according to the announcement issued Monday by Original Soupman parent Soup Kitchen International. One version will feature a Cold Stone Creamery and the signature soups of Original Soupman. The other will offer the ice cream component and the soup concept's complete menu line, which extends to salads, sandwiches and smoothies. It was unclear what name the combo stores would take, or how the two versions would be differentiated marketing-wise.

The deal marks the second effort by Cold Stone to franchise concepts other than its namesake ice cream brand. In early April, the restaurant company entered into an agreement to franchise V's Barbershop, a hair-cutting business that reportedly included Cold Stone CEO Doug Ducey among its early patrons. V's, which was scheduled to move into Cold Stone's headquarters here as part of the deal, had five outlets at the time of the announcement.

Original Soupman is the upstart New York chain that was inspired by the well-known "Soup Nazi" episode of the hit TV series "Seinfeld." The episode, like the chain, was inspired by the New York soup outlet run by the temperamental Al Yeganeh, who was known to banish customers if he disliked their behavior.

Cold Stone Creamery franchises about 1,400 ice cream outlets worldwide.

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