Thinking of Buying a Fast-Casual Franchise? Read this report first.

Ones to Watch | By Sabrina Davis

Daily Soup
Menu item from fast-casual soup company Daily Soup.

Anthony White thought he was part of a hot industry as an IT professional. Imagine how he felt once he turned to soup making two years ago. White is the owner of Daily Soup, a former New York City culinary landmark.

Before 9/11, 14 Daily Soups operated in the city. As New York struggled to recover from the attacks, Daily Soup struggled too. Finally, its owner, Rich O’Donnell, decided to move the brand to New Jersey.

Enter White, who was in the process of leaving the IT world behind in favor of foodservice.

“While I was developing a database for online training for Job Corps, I spent time around culinary students. That sparked an interest in cooking,” White says. “Just going down the street one day, I happened to see a sign for Daily Soup. I went in and started talking to Rich.”

The timing was right. O’Donnell was ready to move on and sold the company to White in 2005. “We still talk once a week. He’s my mentor. He taught me the whole process,” White says of O’Donnell.

Now White’s favorite pastime is dreaming up new soups. Customer favorites include Lobster Bisque finished with French brandy and a lobster tail and Senegalese Peanut with Shrimp and Chicken, which combines roasted peanuts, garlic, ginger, chilies, and other ingredients. A daily list of soup selections is e-mailed to loyal customers. That list fluctuates from 12 to 14 options in the winter to six to eight choices May through August.

When he’s not working on soup selections, White spends his time planning for Daily Soup’s future. Wholesale is a big part of those plans.

“Consumer demands have changed,” White says. “The wholesale end is really profitable.”

White has cultivated a following of customers who order batches of soup in large quantities to freeze. “There’s a more educated consumer now. They want interesting flavors and a quick and easy way to serve healthy meals. We’re the answer,” he says.

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