I took this photo on November 7th, the day when we made our first batch of soup at Rebelle. We’ve been slowly pushing over the last few months to become more than just a bagel shop, and pushing for lunch is part of that. I recently had soup for lunch at Tatte in Kendall and it was a nice, healthy, warming meal, and the $5 price tag was just right. I wanted soup at Rebelle. You wanted soup at Rebelle! This was fated to succeed.

We had some chorizo bits and pieces from our Spanish Tortilla sandwich special that were begging to be put to use, so we made Chorizo, White Bean & Kale soup and put it in a $80 soup kettle from Restaurant Depot. Because the soups would be a vehicle for bits and pieces of things that would otherwise be deemed “scraps”, this was a very low-risk experiment. At $5 a piece, we needed to sell 16 soups to earn back our “investment” on the kettle. Easy!

Not so easy. We’ve sold a grand total of 15 cups of soup since launch. We don’t put the soup kettle on during weekends, because at noon on a Sunday people are still thinking breakfast. So the soups are only a weekday thing, but it’s still painfully slow movement on a new item at an average of 1 unit sold per day.

I’m not ready to give up on soup yet. Our soup is delicious, and winter is the time for soup. We must be doing something wrong! I have several hypotheses for what’s going on that I will try to validate over the coming weeks:

  • No visibility: We’re keeping the soup kettle in the back for practical reasons (not much counter space in the front). But I think we have to try putting it in the front!

  • Poor signage: We have the soup on a sign on our counter. There are 3 other signs on there. It’s too many signs to read. Probably nobody is reading it. (We are fixing the sign issue!)

  • We didn’t give it enough time: We try to give new items at least a month before calling them dogs and retiring them. Given that the soup is only a weekday item, we should probably give it longer.

  • We didn’t market it well: We haven’t given soup the spotlight to shine on our emails. We’ve launched other items successfully by sending coupons to drive trial. We should try that again!

For this week, the soup is on hiatus as I do some soul-searching. We’re going to make a cream of mushroom soup next week. Will you please come try it? We hope to see you!