When it’s cold outside, everyone loves a hearty soup, but surprisingly, lots of people want their chili or lentil soup in the summer too. And for those who don’t…a refreshing cold summer soup like gazpacho or cold cucumber soup is just the thing.

Yes, soup is for you! It’s elegant, nutritious, exciting, calming and cost-effective for everyone all year ’round. In fact, you should have at least one soup, preferably two or three or more, on the menu every day of the year. Here are ten reasons why we think so.

1. Soup is really easy to make and mistake tolerant

What could be easier than throwing a bunch of plum tomatoes into a large pot, adding a little extra virgin olive oil, salt and hot paprika, cooking, pureeing in a high-powered blender and throwing in some basil to chop at the end? If a soup is too liquidy, various thickeners, including cooked, mashed potato, will thicken it right up. If it’s too thick, water will fix it. How can you go wrong?

2. Soup reduces food waste

It’s a great way to use up leftovers or surplus ingredients. It’s a great way to use that overload of inexpensive seasonal veggies coming in from farmers’ markets or local gardens and farms. With food waste at 30-40 percent, it’s a huge issue in the U.S. and around the world. Chefs have an opportunity to lead the way in reducing hunger and environmental impact by demonstrating their know-how in using potential food waste to make delicious soups.

3. Soup reincarnates

Didn’t finish a soup today but want to change it up for tomorrow? Make your leftover soups part of a great new and different soup. You’ll come up with surprising new combinations and flavors.

4. Soup is cost-effective

Soup is one of those items that costs little to prepare and allows room for a nice profit. Spending $5-$10 on a 3-gallon pot of soup if you charge $5/cup…well, you do the math. And your customer will appreciate enjoying something substantial for $5, especially if you throw in some whole grain bread sticks or crackers and a pleasant environment.

5. Soup is where creativity shines

Because soup is easy, and because soup is mistake tolerant (also read: flexible), and because you can use leftovers or leftover soup in new combinations…and well, just because…soup gives you a chance to create some exciting, even surprising, new tastes.

6. Soup is comfort food

People will come back often if they know they can expect a great bowl. Some of us love tradition. We find something we love, and we make a ritual out of it. These rituals make us feel comfortable, secure, connected. Be sure to choose some well-known kinds of soups, substantial soups that resonate with your customers. Have a soup of the day as well to satisfy the palates of those who want a new adventure every day. But have those traditional daily soups that other customers will love and want to make part of their daily ritual.

7. Soup is healthy

Remember waterless cooking to preserve the nutrient content of veggies? Soups involve cooking in water, but all the nutrients stay right there along with the thickened water that makes up your soup. Science tells us that the best foods for human beings are grains, legumes, seeds, fruits and veggies. All of these are premium ingredients for fresh, delicious, substantial soups. Make them fresh, make them delicious, and they will be the healthiest thing your customers eat all day.

8. Soup is a great vegetarian or vegan option

Every day it seems there are more people looking for vegetarian and vegan options. Not every restaurant or eatery is prepared to go full-veg, but soup is an easy and satisfying option for any veg-person. Who doesn’t love a great lentil soup? There are so many ways to make to create healthy options for your guests.

9. Soup is an easy carry-out even if you’re not a carry-out kinda place

Some places keep beautiful display refrigerators with several soups in them. Some sell to other locations. Some serve up soups to seated customers but also have them available to customers who phone in for a quart or two or more. It’s an easy way to extend your possibilities and let people know how delicious your food is even if they don’t come in for a full meal.

10. Soup is something you can serve for more than one meal or even one day

Unlike those wonderful custom-prepared meals you serve up to your customers each day, you can prepare a soup at the beginning of the day. Then have it available all day, and serve it again the next day and even the next, still tasting just as good, sometimes even better.

Oh, and if you really just can’t think of anything to do with a boatload of extra soup…your local shelter will happily receive it as a contribution. So gear up, assemble your files of souper duper soup recipes and some pots, and start souping it up. Your customers will love you for it, and so will your bank account. 

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