SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- THE MELT, a new take on the fast casual restaurant business, today 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 fast casual restaurant chain focused solely around the classic grilled cheese and soup combination. The first location, at 115 New Montgomery Street, is the first of four eateries scheduled to open in the San Francisco Bay Area by the end of the year. THE MELT offers customers an affordable array of irresistible grilled cheese sandwiches, seasonally fresh soups, and delightfully balanced meal "combos."
Created by Flip Video founder and entrepreneur Jonathan Kaplan, THE MELT uniquely leverages the power of technology to provide unequaled ordering convenience and innovative food preparation. THE MELT delivers made-to-order, restaurant-quality grilled cheese sandwiches and soups in less than 90 seconds – completely reinventing the fast casual restaurant experience for the better.
"Life is complicated enough… so a simple, affordable meal like grilled cheese and soup is an easy way to make people happy," said 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 MELT uses only wholesome, high quality ingredients such as hearth-baked breads, with a consistency designed for dipping, specially selected artisan cheeses, and well-balanced MELT seasonings. The fine dining restaurant quality soups are artistically crafted with natural, peak season produce. Together, the pairings create THE MELT's unique menu featuring five specialty combos:
The Classic – Cheddar on Potato Bread + Two Tomato Basil Soup
Fresh tomatoes, sweet basil, sharp cheddar, and hearty potato bread make a perfect combination.
The Wild Thing – Gruyere on White Wheat + Wild Mushroom Soup
The rustic, full-bodied flavor of wheat and mushrooms complement the sharpness of Gruyere cheese.
The Italian Job – Fontina and Provolone on Garlic Bread + Sausage and Pepper Soup
A duo of cheeses hugged by bread toasted in herbs and spices, paired with a play on the classic dish of sausage and peppers that has been carefully blended into a bowl of silky, sweet, and spicy soup.
The Amsterdam – Smoked Gouda on Eight Grain + Spicy Black Bean Soup
Hearty, heady spices cooled by creamy, smoked cheese. Bold flavors of cumin, New Mexico chilies, coriander, ancho chili and chipotle are spun into a light and spicy black bean soup.
The Mission – Jalapeno Jack on Sourdough + Sweet Corn Tortilla Soup
A perfect symphony of lush, creamy corn, bright and spicy pepper jack cheese, fresh pickled jalapenos, and the tang of sourdough bread.
THE MELT strives to stay affordable and democratically priced, without sacrificing quality and value.
Soups: $3.95/cup, $5.95/bowl, $5.95 for 14 ounces to go
Combos: $8.95 scores you a Melt + cup of 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.
As the latest venture of Flip Video founder Jonathan Kaplan, 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, always hot and ready, anytime. Every Melt location knows about every customer order, so a customer never needs to decide when or where to pick up their meal. After ordering, they 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 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.
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.
THE MELT combines the talents of James Beard award-winning restaurant designers, retail leasing experts, operational process and kitchen workflow engineers, and the culinary talents of a visionary Michelin Star award-winning culinary 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 an extraordinary 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.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, THE MELT is a national fast casual restaurant business that specializes in high-quality grilled cheese sandwiches and seasonally fresh soups. Created by entrepreneurial Flip Video founder, Jonathan Kaplan, THE MELT is reinventing the fast casual restaurant experience and what it means to have high quality food prepared just for you.