Brooklyn federal prosecutors last month charged Robert Bertrand, the company's chief financial officer, with tax evasion.
"The combination of legacy liabilities and recent company developments have made it necessary to seek bankruptcy protection", Soupman CEO Jamie Karson said in a statement announcing the court filing.
Soup producer and marketer Soupman filed for protection Tuesday, though the company says it has secured a new $2 million bankruptcy loan to finance its working capital needs and allow business operations to continue as usual.
The exacting soup chef played by Larry Thomas, however, was inspired by Al Yeganeh, founder of The Original Soup Man restaurant chain in NY. Bertrand, of Norwalk, Connecticut, has pleaded not guilty and has been released on $50,000 bail.
A Soupman representative declined to comment on the bankruptcy case. Soupman operates restaurants in the NY area and sells soups to grocery stores and online.
The law firm of Polsinelli is handling the Chapter 11 case, and Michael Wyse has been named the company's chief restructuring officer.
On its website, Soupman said customers can order five "varieties of Al's legendary soup" online, which was first sold at his original New York City location in 1984, but that there are 47 kinds sold in grocery stores and restaurants. The company listed $1 million to $10 million of assets. The character focused fanatically on his culinary creations and refused to serve some would-be customers, barking what became a much-repeated catchphrase: "No soup for you!"
Christopher A. Ward of Polsinelli pc is debtor counsel.