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Flip Video Founder Opens The Melt Restaurant in San Francisco

The Melt, a fast casual restaurant focused solely around grilled cheese and soup combination, announced the opening of its first location in San Francisco's Financial District. Utilizing farm fresh local products, all-natural ingredients and innovative technology, The Melt is the first of four eateries scheduled to open in the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of the year.  
Created by Flip Video founder and entrepreneur Jonathan Kaplan, The Melt leverages the power of technology to provide ordering convenience and innovative food preparation. The Melt delivers made-to-order, restaurant-quality grilled cheese sandwiches and soups in less than 90 seconds.  
"Life is complicated enough… so a simple, affordable meal like grilled cheese and soup is an easy way to make people happy," says Jonathan Kaplan, founder and chairperson. "At The Melt, we're blending your old favorites with innovative new technology to offer irresistible meal combinations in an enjoyable quick-service environment."  
The Technology
The Melt uses location-based mobile technology allowing guests to remotely order combos, soups, melts or other items from their computers and mobile phones. Customers can place orders while on the go and pick them up at any Melt location. After ordering, guests will receive a QR code that can be scanned at any restaurant location; this enables customers to skip the line and pick up their freshly-made order within minutes.
The Environment
The Melt also aims to be one of the most eco-friendly fast-casual restaurant businesses in the country by using only plastic-free and independently BPI certified compostable packaging. From soup cups to sandwich wraps, The Melt packaging is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, contains no bleach or other toxic chemicals, and is lined with a plant-based PLA rather than polyethylene. This approach helps The Melt offset carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing and transportation of all packaging, reduces landfill waste, and saves thousands of trees every year. Additionally, the restaurants are being designed by the James Beard award-winning hospitality and architecture firm AvroKO, and are made entirely of recycled materials from the walls to the floors.
The Food
  • The Melt’s menu features five specialty combos:
  • The Classic: Cheddar on Potato Bread + Two Tomato Basil Soup
  • The Wild Thing: Gruyere on White Wheat + Wild Mushroom Soup
  • The Italian Job: Fontina and Provolone on Garlic Bread + Sausage and Pepper Soup
  • The Amsterdam: Smoked Gouda on Eight Grain + Spicy Black Bean Soup
  • The Mission: Jalapeno Jack on Sourdough + Sweet Corn Tortilla Soup
The Melts are prepared on custom presses powered by radiant infrared heat to expedite cooking time and maximize flavor. This process balances two specialized tasks – toasting the crust and melting the cheese. Soups are aerated prior to service for combinations of flavors and textures that until now have been reserved for traditional fine dining experiences.
The Team
The Melt will begin operations in California, opening five locations in the Bay Area by the end of 2011– with plans to expand to over 500 locations nationally by 2015. Kaplan has assembled a board of directors including Ron Johnson, former head of Apple retail and now CEO of JC Penney; acclaimed chef and restaurateur, Michael Mina; Michael Moritz from Sequoia Capital; and Bruce Dunlevie of Benchmark Capital.  
The Philanthropy
Upon launch, and in conjunction with its corporate partners, The Melt will institute a "round up" philanthropic program to encourage customers to start "the conversation" about world hunger. This program will enable customers to "round up" the total of their purchase (i.e., a $5.75 purchase can be rounded up to $6.00), and the additional amount (.25) will be donated to charitable organizations dedicated to fighting world hunger.
Additionally, The Melt will empower staff members at each restaurant location to choose a local hunger-fighting charitable organization in its neighborhood and develop a specialized philanthropic program designed to make a difference.
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