The latest innovation to come out of Silicon Valley’s minds is…a grilled cheese sandwich? Or rather, a faster, more efficient way to buy a grilled cheese.
Flip founder Jonathan Kaplan’s newest project straight out of stealth mode, THE MELT, lets you remotely order a grilled cheese from a computer or phone from the website. There also may be an app in the works. Smartphone users receive a QR code when they order that can be scanned at any location. The company’s Electrolux cooking equipment fires up a grilled cheese in a minute — so you can effectively order, swipe (bypassing any lines) and pick up your food in less than a few minutes.
Kaplan’s compact camcorder was a hit with consumers, and he made $590 million selling Pure Digital Technologies to Cisco almost two years before the company closed down Flip in April. It may be hard to take the man seriously considering the initial jump between the Flip and grilled cheese, but both capture simplicity and convenience.
According to Businessweek, Kaplan wants his fast-casual dining chain to have similarities to the Chipotle Mexican Grill, though with the speed and tech gimmick he may be creating a new model. Investors definitely have faith in his idea, with Sequoia Capital funding enough for him to open 20 stores.
THE MELT will begin opening up shop in San Francisco around August, with locations on New Montgomery, Embarcadero and Spear Street. There will also be a Palo Alta location in the Stanford Shopping Center. Once those land, the Flip Video creator plans to aggressively expand to 500 locations in the next five years.
Celebrity chef Michael Mina will have a hand in the menu, which will be far from the same grilled cheese every time. Seasonally fresh soups will be combined with regular and gourmet ingredients to create unique pairings, though Kaplan aims to strike in the nostalgia department. He says, “[People] talk about loving grilled cheese, they don’t talk about liking it.”