Dunkin' Donuts Soups
Dunkin' Donuts Souper Soups were a meal in a bowl the whole family could love.
My hometown had no major chain eateries for a long time. Then one day they tore down our main gas station and a few months later we got a Dunkin’ Donuts. It was a big deal, and I remember the first few months tagging along with my sisters and loving the smell of donuts and coffee as we ordered a box. Then one day we went in, and the place smelled different, it smelled like soup.
It might not be common knowledge to younger Dunkin’ eaters, but for over a decade, Dunkin’ Donuts served soup alongside their sweeter offerings. It was an early attempt to expand the menu and reach a larger audience at different parts of the day without cannibalizing sales from existing items.
When did Dunkin’ Donuts Start serving soup?
They began rolling out their soup offering in April of 1974. Billed as Super Soup, this initial release was “All you can eat” for the low low price of 79 cents. This is the equivalent of about $5 today, and in their advertising all this soup was paired with bread and butter, which I assume was also unlimited.
Even at five bucks, that is a pretty good deal for all you can eat. As you can see in the ad, you could also take your Souper Soup to go, although it is not clear if you could get a to-go container after indulging in a good amount of refills. I doubt it.
What types of Soup did Dunkin’ Donuts serve?
Over the years, they would serve many varieties of soup. That first year, the number of choices was pretty impressive. They had:
Home Style Pea Soup
Real New England Clam Chowder
Later they would add soups like:
Manhattan Clam Chowder
Cream of Broccoli
My family was always up for Pea Soup, but while it’s been a while, I was a big fan of Beef Noodle Soup as a kid. This selection of soup appears to have stay steady for most of the 1970s. Then in the early 80s, some locations had Fisherman’s Chowder, Stew, and Baked Beans on the menu.
They were also selling soup at Canadian locations and in 1983, they added six new soups to the menu there.
Creamy Chicken Gumbo
Chicken a la rouge
The “all you can eat” offerings are long gone, but Souper Soup was now offered as part of a souper-douper special that included bread and butter, a muffin of your choice, and a cup of coffee.
What were the containers like?
The soup offerings look fantastic, but what is might be the most memorable were the containers they served them in. For years, they served the soup in attractive reusable dishwasher safe containers.
Designed to comfortable hold about 8 ounces (302.39 g) of soup. These cups were not only attractively designed but practical. It had a strong handle on the side, allowing you to hold the cup even when its contents were piping hot.
Each cup was also branded with what soup you were getting. So if you ordered Chicken Noodle or Minestrone, it said it right on the cup.
If you lived in a thrift household, that liked convenient cups to consume soup and your family liked Dunkin’ Donuts, you might have had a stack of these cups in your cabinet.
If your family really liked Dunkin’ Donuts soup, they might have picked up the attractive soup crock that they were selling in 1981. Made of glazed stoneware, this cup was a step up from their plastic cups. You could pick one up for $2.29, and they would fill it up with a soup of your choice.
I have been trying to get my hands on one of these crocks for a while. Either they didn’t have Dunkin’ Donuts branding on them to make them easier to find, or people just can’t bring themselves to part with them.
If that wasn’t cool enough, they also offered a Souper Soup Thermos full of soup. In the ad, they appear to have the soup branding on them, but I haven’t been able to find one that looks like this. So I am thinking that maybe they used a more traditional Dunkin’ Donuts branded thermos and just filled it with soup. I would love to be wrong about that.
Did they sell it in cans at the Supermarket?
For a brief time, you could go to your local grocery store and find Dunkin’ Donuts Soups on the shelves next to more familiar offerings. It seemed mostly confined to the midwestern United States, and I could only find it in stores that sold it in bulk. But if you were a fan and lived in the right location, you could head to your local market and find Dunkin’ Donuts Chili, Chicken Vegetable, and Chicken Noodle Soups.
When did they stop serving soup at Dunkin’ Donuts?
Based on advertising, soup at Dunkin’ Donuts peaked in the early eighties. After about 1982, mentions of it begin to dwindle rapidly, and in 1987 we see the last mention of soup being sold at any location. It appears that each location was given a choice of what they wanted to serve, and many got out of the soup game as quickly as they could.
By the mid-eighties, the store in my town had become an institution and donuts and coffee were selling strong throughout the day. I don’t recall when soup went away there, it was probably in the before 1987, but I do remember in the early nineties they began selling sandwiches, much to everyone’s surprise.
Over the years, people seem to be surprised when Dunkin’ Donuts tried new products. While I preferred their donuts, especially their Munchkins, to anything else they made, I wasn’t shocked when new items showed up. Soup was a big swing from the company, and they stuck by it for years at many locations. It showed that for a long time they have wanted to grow their offerings beyond donuts and coffee.
As I reminisce about those early days, walking into Dunkin' Donuts with my sisters, greeted by the smell of coffee and donuts, and later, the unexpected aroma of soup, I am reminded of the constant evolution of our tastes and experiences. Dunkin' Donuts, much like my hometown, grew and adapted, always finding new ways to serve its community, one cup of coffee, one donut, and for a memorable time, one bowl of soup at a time. On cold days, when I am feeling nostalgic (which is often), I wish I could go back and get one more bowl.
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