Headquartered in San Francisco, California, THE MELT is the fast casual dining creation of Flip Video founder, Jonathan Kaplan who intends to take his growing grilled cheese chain to the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond in a very big and unique way, according to an article in USA Today.
Kaplan intends to debut its mobile expansion tomorrow, Sunday, September 9, 2012, during the San Francisco Giants’ game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking a food truck where no other food truck has gone before – on the ocean.
One of its new food trucks (retrofitted school buses) will be carried by a crane onto a barge, then sent out to sea into McCovey Cove, just beyond right-field of the ballpark. Kaplan’s crew will serve kayakers before, and during the ball game.
THE MELT made its bricks and mortar debut several years ago after Kaplan sold his previous start-up, Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip HD video camera, to Cisco Systems for $590 million in 2009. The eco-friendly eatery is innovating the fast casual dining experience by combining great food and technology, specializing in high-quality grilled cheese sandwiches and seasonally fresh soups, served in a simple, fast and eco-friendly environment.
THE MELT combines the talents of an experienced leadership team and a board of directors that includes Michael Mina (Michelin Star award-winning chef), Ron Johnson (former head of Apple retail and now CEO of JC Penney), Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital, and Bruce Dunlevie of Benchmark Capital.
The fast-casual dining chain says it’s adding 100 retrofitted school buses to its chain over the next five years, and Kaplan plans to be anything but ordinary. The rolling bistros are equipped with state-of-the-art, 200 square foot kitchens and WiFi service, and will boast the same menu as its bricks and mortar locations. Kaplan has been purchasing school buses throughout the year and will roll out 25 food trucks by the end of the year.
“This isn’t just a marketing vehicle, but a component of strategy that Melt has discussed,” says Kaplan who currently owns five bricks and mortar locations throughout the Bay Area and intends to open 21 more throughout the state over the next few months. Longer term, he’s thinking big – he’d like 500 eateries around the US by 2016.
Keeping with The Melt’s eco-friendly image, the bus fleet will run on biofuel, says Chief Marketing Officer Paul Coletta.