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TheStreet Open House

Exclusive Interview: Soupman CEO Says There's Plenty of Soup For You

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Investors love a small-cap with blue-chip name recognition like The Original Soupman (SOUP). In the soup category, The Original Soupman is third in name recognition behind only consumer staples Campbell Soup (CPB) and Progresso, a General Mills (GIS) product.

A telephone interview with Lloyd Sugarman, the Chief Executive Officer of Soupman, highlighted some key areas where the company could be even tastier for investors.

Sugarman is an experienced restaurateur who was a co-founder of Johnny Rockets, a successful hamburger chain. He currently franchises 17 Johnny Rockets in seven states, and operates two franchised Soupman units. Sugarman was in high spirits after a major court victory earlier this month that allows it to keep brand, trade dress, intellectual property and assets including the famed Original Soupman soups.

"It was a positive development that had to take place," Sugarman said. "We are pleased that it has been settled favorably so we can move on. It is very important for the company's growth."

Also developing nicely for Soupman are is its restaurants in resorts and casinos.

"They are doing very well and in excellent locations in the food courts," Sugarman stated. "Casinos have a great appeal as entertainment centers. At Atlantic City, our lobster rolls, Rueben's, pastrami sandwiches and other items are selling great. What is also selling well is the take home soups from the restaurants. After a guest has the soup at the restaurant, they take even more home. We are selling four times as much at the restaurant locations as a result."

It's impossible to talk about Soupman without bringing up "Seinfeld," the classic comedy hit series, and its legendary "Soup Nazi" episode.

"That's a great story," shares Sugarman. "[Co-creator Larry David] used to eat at the original location at 55th and 5th in Manhattan. He was amazed at how mean the original owner was to his customers. But the soup was so good, they tolerated it and came back for more. In a stroke of genius, he realized he had to use that guy in a show ... The rest is entertainment history."

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