- Woworks has acquired Barberitos Southwestern Grille and Cantina, a 54-unit fast casual chain, and Zoup Eatery, a 68-unit fast casual chain, the company announced Thursday.
- Zoup Specialty Products, which offers products to retailers, will continue to be run separately by Eric Ersher, founder and previous CEO of Zoup Systems.
- With these acquisitions, Woworks will own six brands and over 400 restaurant locations.
Since its creation in 2020, Woworks, the parent company of Saladworks, has focused on adding healthy fast casual brands to its portfolio. The company acquired Garbanzo Mediterranean Fresh and Frutta Bowls in 2020 and The Simple Greek last year. Woworks has also targeted expansion, adding 60 restaurant units last year and signing 28 new franchise agreements, which represented 112 new units.
Barberitos and Zoup could also grow using Woworks’ network of nontraditional locations, including ghost kitchens through partnerships with Ghost Kitchens and Combo Kitchens, as well as grocery stores, airports, colleges and universities. The company also opened six locations and signed six franchise agreements for co-branded locations with Saladworks and Frutta Bowls last year.
The newly acquired fast casual brands could benefit from operating under a larger parent company, which can help reduce vendor-related costs and boost productivity.
Woworks also improved its tech stack earlier this year and hired its first CIO. The company said it was updating its operations, processes and guest loyalty program through partnerships with Qu POS, Olo, Punchh and WorldPay, all of which could help Barberitos and Zoup grow their customer bases and online ordering capabilities.
Woworks is among only a handful of restaurant companies to add to their portfolios so far in 2022 after a very active 2021. Denny’s bought Florida-based Keke's Breakfast Cafe for nearly $83 million earlier this year, while Dave & Buster’s bought Main Event for $835 million in April. BBQ Holdings added a small Mexican fine-dining restaurant for $28 million to its portfolio in April.