When the weather cools down, consumers look for foods that will warm them up, such as soup. In fact according to Technomic’s 2018 Left Side of the Menu: Soup and Salad Consumer Trend Report, 61% of consumers say they are more likely to order soup when it’s cold outside.
For restaurants that want to appeal to these diners, offering a soup LTO can be a winning strategy, since consumers look for menu items that are new and different. Drawing inspiration from ingredient trends and what other restaurants are doing, though, makes it easy to put something unique on the menu. Check out these three delicious ways to make soup in the fall even more appealing.
Keep an eye on seasonal or trending ingredients
From Q3 2018 to Q4 2018, soups with pumpkin increased on menus by 6.5%, while soups with butternut squash increased 4.8%, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Other ingredients that saw a lift included mozzarella (+4.9%), apple (+3.3%) and caramelized onion (+2.8%). Featuring soups that have seasonal or trending ingredients is a great way of attracting diners who want to eat in-season produce or taste the flavors of fall.
For instance, Panera Bread offered Autumn Squash Soup in Q3 of 2018. Featuring a rich blend of butternut squash and pumpkin simmered in vegetable broth with select ingredients including honey, apple juice, cinnamon and a hint of curry, the soup was topped with roasted and salted pumpkin seeds and finished with sweet cream.
Use tempting descriptions
Soup names are often little more than expository, telling the customer what’s in the broth and not much more—chicken noodle, vegetable beef, etc. To help pique diners’ interest, consider using descriptive, enticing words, such as “creamy,” “homemade” or “roasted” to illustrate how a soup tastes or the comforting feelings it’s meant to evoke.
For example, Ruth’s Chris Steak House menued a soup LTO of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup last fall, while On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina offered Homemade Tortilla Soup. And at Tim Horton’s, Creamy Tomato Soup was offered as an LTO during Q4. According to Technomic’s Soup & Salad Report, 82% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase soup described as housemade, while 70% say the same about soup described as seasonal, so keep these descriptors in mind with fall soup LTOs.
Consider signature offerings
Technomic’s Soup & Salad Report finds that 35% of consumers say it’s important for a soup to be unique, while 39% say they visit certain restaurants specifically because they enjoy the soup the restaurants offer. When developing a seasonal LTO, consider making something a signature offering that’s unique to the restaurant or chain.
It’s easy to do so, too—start with a rich, hearty base, such as creamy potato soup, and then add premium toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, chives and a sour cream swirl for a Signature Loaded Potato Soup offering. Additionally, 69% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase soup that’s topped with high-quality garnishes, according to Technomic’s Soup & Salad Report, so be sure to call out the quality of toppings on any soup LTOs, too.
The success of soup LTOs comes down to giving diners what they’re looking for—seasonal and trending ingredients, tempting descriptions that let them know what to expect and signature offerings they won’t find elsewhere. Check out the soup products from Campbell’s® soups that can help create a craveable fall soup LTO here.
This post is sponsored by Campbell's Foodservice