Steve & Jennifer Sarver Entrepreneurship through soup

Inspiration has a habit of springing from the oddest of places.

For Steve and Jennifer Sarver, founders of the San Francisco Soup Co., theirs came from a television show.

“We were watching the Soup Nazi episode of ‘Seinfeld,’” said Steve, who was working as a marketing manager for The Clorox Co. (CLX) at the time. “And we both thought that a soup restaurant would be a great idea for San Francisco. We knew that the cool weather here would always call for a demand of soup, and if we could put out a good product, we could capitalize on that.”

After working with a chef at home and trying out myriad different soup recipes recommended by friends and families, the Sarvers, despite neither of them possessing any previous professional cooking experience, felt confident enough to invest in a new store devoted almost entirely to soup.

Their first opening, at Crocker Galleria on Montgomery and Post, opened in 1999 to immediate

success. The store’s combination of expediency and quality appealed to the busy browsers of the Financial District.

“Unlike a sandwich, where there are so many different processes involved, a premium cup of soup can be served in a matter of seconds,” said Steve. “We found that we could provide the best quality food in a really quick time, which was very important to the customers.”

The Sarvers also sought to highlight an expanding and evolving menu of offerings.

The San Francisco Soup Co. features seven mainstay soups — such as the Mexican Chicken Tortilla and Smoke Split Pea — that are served every day, but it also adds four different soups daily, as part of the “specials” section of the menu.

“We have a repertoire of over 60 soups that we can use,” said Jennifer. “And we’re constantly seeking the input of our workers and customers to figure out which soups are the most appealing.”

The Sarvers were able to parlay the success of their beacon store into more openings around the Bay Area. There are now 13 San Francisco Soup locations in the Bay Area, with four more new stores in the works for 2007.

Almost all of the venues are located near high-density business districts, which have proven to offer a loyal following.

“We have people coming here three days a week out of the five we are open,” said Steve. “They recognize the quality of what we’re serving and they keep returning, which makes our success all the more rewarding.”

businessBusiness & Real Estate

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Recology executives have acknowledged overcharging city ratepayers. (Mira Laing/2017 Special to S.F. Examiner)
Recology to repay customers $95M in overcharged garbage fees, city attorney says

San Francisco’s waste management company, Recology, has agreed to repay its customers… Continue reading

A construction worker watches a load for a crane operator at the site of the future Chinatown Muni station for the Central Subway on Tuesday, March 3, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Major construction on Central Subway to end by March 31

SFMTA board approves renegotiated contract with new deadline, more contractor payments

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Settlement clears path for all youth, high school sports to resume in California

John Maffei The San Diego Union-Tribune All youth and high school sports… Continue reading

State to reserve 40 percent of COVID-19 vaccines for hard-hit areas

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation State officials said Thursday that… Continue reading

Neighbors and environmental advocates have found the Ferris wheel in Golden Gate Park noisy and inappropriate for its natural setting. <ins>(</ins>
Golden Gate Park wheel wins extension, but for how long?

Supervisors move to limit contract under City Charter provision requiring two-thirds approval

Most Read