Americans consume more than 10 billion bowls of soup each year, according to the Campbell Soup Company. “Soupreneurs” aim to cash in on our love affair with this versatile food.
On the foodie radar after the famous “Seinfeld” episode about the “Soup Nazi,” soup restaurants serve exotic fare such as mulligatawny or Mexican tortilla soup next to tried-and-true classics like chicken noodle and tomato. Prepared by hand with gourmet flair, at least five flavors adorn a typical menu, with some varying daily. Some eateries serve soup-friendly side dishes, such as fresh salads or small sandwiches, or even just-baked bread.
Restaurants such as New York-based Daily Soup step it up a notch with Internet ordering, delivery and even mail-order service. Creating the perfect vibe also proves vital to restaurateurs, and Frances Huffman notes in “Entrepreneur” magazine that it often costs more than $300,000 to open a well-designed soup shop.
Something for Everyone
Daily menus should include at least one vegan- or vegetarian-friendly choice and offer low-fat, non-dairy and gluten-free selections. Seasonal varieties draw fans in many soup restaurants. In the summer, Cleveland-based Souper Market offers bisques and other cold soups. In autumn and winter, vegan chili and hearty soups fit the bill. Huffman identifies the most popular restaurant-served soups as New England clam chowder and French onion.