Update (Feb 26): The future is looking bleak to nonexistent for soup and coffee chain Soupesoup, with the company having filed for bankruptcy in the time since all but one of its stores closed in early February.
At that time, the company was looking at various options such as debt restructuring or finding new investors, but a few days later, a bankruptcy notice appeared on the chain’s Casgrain Avenue location, which doubles as Soupesoup’s headquarters.
Documents obtained by Eater show that a meeting of creditors is scheduled for early March — the company appears to be just under $900,000 in debt, after the value of its assets (those which can be liquidated) are factored in.
The filing features a long list of creditors that runs the gamut from Hydro Québec and the City of Montreal through to food and beverage companies and local businesses like Hof Kelsten, Dieu du Ciel brewery. Amour du Pain bakery, and Camellia Sinensis tea.
Feb 12: It appears that local soup and café chain Soupesoup is in major trouble, with five locations suddenly closed.
Soupesoup’s Mile End location on Casgrain Avenue (which is also its headquarters) has been closed since Friday with no notice, and nothing posted in the windows.
Eater has contacted other people who work in the mixed-use building at 5333 Casgrain (where Soupesoup occupies a large portion of the ground floor), and they report that almost nobody has been seen in the company’s offices in recent days. A Soupesoup vehicle, parked on site, has also not moved.
No other Soupesoup locations in Montreal could be contacted by phone, and some Soupesoup customers have commented on Facebook noting that they’ve been unable to get in touch with anybody from the company.
Also indicating the possibility of the company’s demise is a report today in Le Journal de Montréal, highlighting major financial difficulties at the company, and the possibility of a bankruptcy filing.
That article notes that only a franchised Soupesoup location on St-Denis Street remains open. It notes that as well as the possibility of bankruptcy, if the company finds an investor, it could return to business. It could also have its debt restructured to allow the business to continue in some form.)
Soupesoup’s grocery store offerings are not affected, as they are produced by a separate company.
Owner Jacques Parisien, also known for his work as an executive at Astral Media, told Le Journal he believed the company would survive. However, also speaking to Le Journal, the company’s majority shareholder Hervé Gévaudan noted that the company had been in deficit for a few years.
Soupesoup was founded on Duluth Street on the Plateau by chef Caroline Dumas in 2001, earning the moniker “Madame Soupesoup” as time went on. In 2014, she sold the company to Parisien, who wanted to grow it into a franchise operation (and opened multiple new locations, including the fancy Casgrain location).
Dumas remained involved until 2016, when her contract with the company was terminated — given her comments to the Journal, it seems like a bitter split, with Dumas commenting this week that she would’ve bought back the name if she could. Despite founding the company, her name has also been scrubbed from the “our story” section of the Soupesoup website. Dumas has since gone on to open Outremont bistro Bloomfield.