WOWorks acquires Barberitos Southwestern Grille, Cantina and Zoup! Restaurant

WOWorks adds two new forward-thinking, nutritious and tasty restaurant brands to its portfolio of Fast-Casual Better-for-You brands

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida., May 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — WOWorks, the holding company of healthier restaurant brands, Saladworks, fruit bowls, Fresh mediterranean chickpeas and simple greekacquires Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoop! Restaurant and fast and casual dining brands. These two brands share a common basic DNA found in all WOWorks, where they not only satisfy appetites, but also serve plant-based, nutritious, and great-tasting foods so guests can pursue their passions and live their best lives.

Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina is a fast and casual Southwestern burrito, taco, bowl and salad concept that allows customers to customize their order with their choice of protein and toppings. Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina serves only 100% natural meals, featuring hormone-free and plant-based proteins, prepared and cooked daily, along with farm-fresh and locally-sourced ingredients to fit your any dietary lifestyle. Founded in 2000 and based in Athens, Georgia, the brand has 50 franchise restaurants and four company-owned locations located primarily in the Southeast.

Zoop! Eatery is a fast-casual, trendy concept that offers best-in-class soups, broth bowls, salads and sandwiches. Zoop! Eatery offers 12 rotating soups daily as part of an innovative menu that features delicious, nutrient-dense dishes made from clean ingredients. Founded in 1998 and based in Southfield, MI, Zoup! Eatery has 67 franchise restaurants and one company-owned location. The brand was created with a mission to elevate the quality of soups available in restaurants and bring to life the intangible comfort and warmth often associated with soup. Zoop! is mostly located in the north central states and across the border in Ontario, Canada.

While Zoup! Eatery will join the WOWorks family of restaurant brands better for you, Zoup! Specialty Products, LLC, will continue to be operated separately by Eric Ersher, the founder and former CEO of Zoup! Systems, LLC. Zoop! Specialty Products are premium broth products created from clean ingredients that have been designed to bring the brand’s restaurant-quality taste to the retail market. Previously, Ersher had overall responsibility for strategic planning, concept and product evolution, quality, and franchise support for Zoup! brand. Prior to establishing Zoup!, Ersher owned Michigan Foods, which blended and wholesaled spices and custom spice blends.

“Today we welcome both Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! WOWork family,” said Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWorks enterprise, wholly owned by Center Lane Partners, LLC. “These brands share our overall goal of becoming one of the largest forward-thinking, good-for-you companies in the restaurant industry. Equally important, both brands are in direct alignment with our WOWVision, mission and shared values ​​of the orks (BE passionate, BE inventive, BE responsible, BE accomplished and BE real). They are dedicated to fueling the passions of their team members, guests, partners and communities to empower everyone to live their best life.”

Following these acquisitions, WOWorks now has six brands and will end the year with more than 400 restaurants while creating more than 10,000 restaurant job opportunities. WOWorks will support the infrastructure and operations of both brands to drive explosive growth. With shared services and plans to leverage best practices across brands, WOWworkers will continue to increase their bargaining and purchasing power; using cost savings to fuel productivity growth; and improve vendor support as they grow their portfolio of better-for-you restaurants.

“In closing, we are incredibly proud of our entire WOWork family and extremely happy to welcome Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoup! Eatery to our portfolio of brands. Together, we look forward to fueling the ‘originality’ of our team members, guests, business partners and communities and empowering everyone to live their best life,” said Kelly Roddy, CEO of WOWkiller whales.


WOWorks was formed in 2020 with a mission to help customers pursue their passions and live their best lives by serving healthy, nutritious, and great-tasting meals with its Vow to “WOW!” the hospitality of the guests. Wholly owned by Center Lane Partners, LLC, WOWorks portfolio, in addition to its most recent brands, Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina and Zoop! Restaurantconsists of: Saladworksthe nation’s leading brand of quick casual salads; fruit bowlsa unique restaurant franchise serving a variety of superfood bowls, fresh fruit smoothies, protein bites and more; Fresh Mediterranean Chickpeas, a popular Mediterranean restaurant concept; simple greekwhich offers a fresh and healthy take on traditional Greek recipes in a casual setting. WOWorks seeks to drive explosive growth across all of its brands through a variety of channels, traditional and non-traditional, including ghost kitchens, food trucks, grocery stores and more.


Celebrating 22 years in business, Barberitos is on a mission to serve others with a focus on food, community and people. The chain is dedicated to serving high-quality, farm-fresh food in an efficient manner. In 2017, Nation Restaurant News included the chain in its “Next Restaurant Brands” list. For more company information or franchise opportunities, please visit


Founded in 1998, Zoop! is the leading fast casual soup concept with locally owned and operated restaurants in the United States and Canada. In 2018, Zoup! began its evolution from Zoup! Fresh Soup Company in Zoup! Eatery and expanded its menu of soups, salads and sandwiches to additional menu categories. The company continues to grow, bringing Zoup! Restaurant to new markets. For more information, visit or To learn more about franchise opportunities with Zoup!, contact Richard Zimmer to [email protected] or call 800-940-9687 ext. 4.

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