The Melt, San Francisco

The Melt, a new quick-serve restaurant in San Francisco, is built around a basic but classic menu option: the grilled cheese and soup combination. But it leverages the latest technology to provide ordering convenience and innovative food preparation, delivering made-to-order 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," said The Melt founder Jonathan Kaplan. The entrepreneur is best known as the founder of Pure Digital, creators of the Flip Video camcorder.

The sandwiches at The Melt are prepared on custom presses powered by radiant infrared heat to expedite cooking time and maximize flavor.

The format uses location-based mobile technology that allows customers to remotely order menu items from their computers and mobile phones. After ordering, the customer receives a QR code that can be scanned at the restaurant, enabling the customer to skip the line and quickly pick up their freshly-made order.

Designed by hospitality and architecture firm AvroKO, The Melt has a contemporary, streamlined look. It is eco-friendly, and made entirely of recycled materials from the walls to the floors. The company uses only plastic-free and independently BPI certified compostable packaging.

The Melt will open five locations in the Bay Area by the end of 2011 -- with plans to expand to over 500 locations nationally by 2015. The new venture is backed by some major players. Apple retail guru and soon-to-be J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson is on the company’s board. Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz, chef and restaurateur Michael Mina and Benchmark Capital’s Bruce Dunlevie are also members of its board.

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