The Next Restaurant Empire? Grilled Cheese

June 2, 2011

It's not the traditional career path for someone in the technology world, that's for sure. Jonathan Kaplan previously led the company that made the Flip camera, which was killed off recently. So, for his next project, he decided to start a restaurant empire. 

The Melt will be a series of sandwich shops throughout the country specializing in grilled cheese and soup. Kaplan announced that he had raised enough venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital to open 20 shops and put the cost of opening one at between $500,000 and $1 million. That means he's received more than $10 million for his grilled cheese concept. He plans to open 500 shops someday. 

The restaurants will combine technology with food. Customers can order their food online, receive a QR code, head to the store and get their order in just minutes. That's the theory anyway. The first five stores will open later this year in San Francisco and will remain open until 2 a.m. 

Several intriguing bits with this story. On an episode of America's Next Great Restaurant, a reality show on NBC, investors declined to fund a very similar concept and said they didn't think people would come in for grilled cheese often enough to make the business viable. Also, there is currently a chain of restaurants near Cleveland called "Melt Bar and Grilled." Is the name too close?

What do you think of this idea? Would you go in for grilled cheese at your lunch hour regularly? 

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Comments's picture

um yes. why? b/c grilled cheese & soup is my favourite meal on the planet.
next to sushi. :)

mkimberley's picture

Being that the highlight of my honeymoon in Seattle was the grilled cheese I had at Beecher's, that would be a resounding YES. My arteries woudn't thank me, but my taste buds sure would!