If you have ever been the recipient of soggy takeout then you know that freshness is often sacrificed for convenience when it comes to food delivery. Fast casual eatery, The Melt, is hoping to change the tide with the launch of its catering services powered by its patent pending Smart Box delivery system.
“We could not find a solution on the market to deliver on our mission of fresh, hot and crispy grilled cheese happiness, so we invented one,” said Kerri Martin,” vice president of marketing, The Melt.
The Melt has always been tech forward when looking for creative ways to address challenges in food services. Early on it reimagined quick service restaurants by developing a sophisticated mobile ordering system and proprietary cooking technology that can deliver grilled cheese sandwiches in less than 60 seconds.
None of this is surprising when you consider the company is the brainchild of Jonathan Kaplan. In 2009, he sold Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip HD video camera, to Cisco Systems for $590 million.
Grilled cheese is a temperamental food under normal circumstances, but delivery brings with it a whole new set of challenges. After nine months of development and four prototypes, The Melt finally arrived at a technology that can provide the perfect balance of humidity, heat and air circulation to ensure crispy bread and ooey gooey cheese upon delivery.
The Smart Box can keep grilled cheese fresh for up to one hour, but the optimal time is 30 minutes. It also stood the test of time when used with foods like pizza and hamburgers. Martin said the focus for now is on using the technology to grow their business, but one day it could extend beyond the Melt.
Recent years have seen The Melt shift away from brick-and-mortar stores in favor of mobile delivery options like its fleet of buses. But Martin insists that catering isn’t a replacement for stores, and the company continues to investigate markets outside of California - including New York, Chicago and Denver.
“The catering is an additional way to deliver grilled cheese happiness outside the restaurant. We learned a lot from the buses. People love a hot, fresh and crispy grilled cheese, especially when it’s delivered right to them,” said Martin.
Catering services start today in its four San Francisco locations. By the end of the year, it plans a further rollout to its other Bay Area stores and to the greater Los Angeles area.
Currently, catering is only offered on weekdays. The minimum order is $50, and delivery is free. Go to www.themeltcaters.com for a complete menu and to place an order.