2 Exciting Ways to Expand Your Menu: Soup and Chili

In decades past, soup has often been more of an afterthought than a central premise on a restaurant's menu. These days, soup is having a bit of a moment, as more eateries are focusing on high-quality soup recipes and offerings. If you've been on the fence about soup, now is the time to invest in this delicious and versatile dish. Let's dive into why soup can help you expand your menu. 

Why Restaurants Have a Soup Menu

There are quite a few benefits of offering soup in your restaurant: 

  • Simplicity - Soup is easy to prepare, whether you're a fine dining establishment or a quick-serve restaurant. You can also find plenty of gourmet options that can elevate your menu selection. 
  • Versatility - Soup works well as a main course or a side dish. Also, you can utilize seasonal ingredients to have a rotating soup menu. Overall, this dish can inspire plenty of creativity in the kitchen. 
  • Affordability - Even if you're going with gourmet soup options, the price per dish is relatively low compared to other offerings. Plus, soup can save more easily without losing its freshness or flavor. 

Common Types of Soup Offerings

Deciding to have soup on your menu is only the first step. Next, you have to determine what kind of soup to offer. Here are some typical options that most restaurants serve: 

  • Clam Chowder - Even if you're not a "seafood" restaurant, a cup or bowl of clam chowder is always in season. You can upgrade your chowder selection by including specialty add-ons, such as a bread bowl or salad shrimp on top. About 10 percent of all restaurants offer clam chowder. 
  • Chili - Nothing warms the soul like a delicious bowl of chili. This dish works well on its own, especially if you have sides like cornbread or Texas toast. 
  • Tortilla or Onion Soup - If you want to add a bit of ethnic zest to your soup menu, you can have southwestern or European flavors. Chicken tortilla soup is an excellent standby, or you can opt for a French onion soup instead. 
  • Broccoli and Cheese - This soup works best in a bread bowl, but it can also stand on its own. Thicker soups are ideal for colder weather since they stick to the insides better. 

We're proud to introduce two new companies to our food brands, Ivar's Soups & Sauce Co. and Whitey's Chili. Both produce quality soups and chili that will make it easier, and cost-effective, for your foodservice establishment to serve your customers. 

Ivar's Soups & Sauce Co.

Ivars Clam Chowder

(photo courtesy of Ivar's)

While you can make soup from scratch, it's often more profitable to rely on soup vendors. Ivar's has a long history of developing and selling high-quality chowders and soups to restaurants. Even though Ivar's is a national brand, it takes a small-batch, artisan approach to its soup recipes. Some highlights include: 

  • Vegetarian and Vegan Soup - Choose from flavors like cheddar vegetable medley soup or minestrone. 
  • Chowder - Ivar's is most famous for its clam chowder, but the company also offers salmon chowder and crab bisque. 
  • Classics - Chicken noodle soup harkens back to one's childhood, as does a bowl of red bean chili. 

Whitey's Chili

Whiteys Chili

(photo courtesy of Whitey's Chili)

Chili is practically a food group by itself, thanks to a blend of hearty ingredients like beans, meat, and tomatoes. No one does chili like Whitey's, which has been in the industry for over 70 years. If you add Whitey's to your menu, you're sure to have happy customers as they dip their spoons into favorites like: 

  • Beef Chili with Beans - The original chili that got Whitey's started
  • Chicken Chili - Chunks of chicken slow cooked with veggies
  • Jalapeno Beef Chili - Without beans and with a little kick, Texas-style
  • Chipotle Vegetarian Chili - Lots of veggies and beans for a vegetarian alternative

Is your foodservice considering adding soups and chili to your menu rotation? If you're ready to give Whitey's Chili and Ivar's Soups a try, let us know! 

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