If all goes as planned, the fourth Souper Market will open in Kamm's Corner by New Year's Day. That soup shop is going into the space that housed Big Daddy's Cheesesteaks (16804 Lorain Ave.), which closed earlier this year. The new location joins the original in Ohio City, an outpost in Lakewood, and the production kitchen/retail store on Carnegie.
The West Park store, like the Lakewood spot, is a franchise, says Moore.
"I learned some pretty intense lessons the first time around," he says, referring to an earlier store failure. "The first franchise was chef-owned and operated, with the owners cooking in each store. I decided that the only way to expand Souper Market while ensuring quality was to centralize production. Now, I have complete control of the product."
That's not to say that every Souper Market is or will be a facsimile of the original.
"I like the idea of each location having its own feel so they're not all so cookie-cutter," adds Moore. "As much as I've become a business person, I'm still just a chef who's coming to terms with the fact that Souper Market is turning into this big company. I hate the word 'franchise,' so to be able have something that still looks and feels unique, but with the same product, appeals to me."
Adding a fourth store means that Moore will need to hire new employees and add a second shift to the production schedule, he says.
"We're maxed out with what we're capable of doing," he explains. "And I don’t want to stray from making the soups in small batches. If I have to start cranking out 100-gallon batches in a kettle, it kind of misses the point of what I've been doing from the beginning."
The owner of the Kamm's spot is John Donahue. Moore says that he doesn't actively try to sell franchises, but now that a system for growth is in place, things might begin to pick up speed.
"Now that we're doing the fourth one, it will be that much easier to do the fifth and sixth," he notes.