Jonathan Kaplan is known for inventing the Flip camcorder, which Cisco purchased for a tidy $590 million sum in 2009 then promptly ran into the ground. No worries though—Kaplan is doing just fine. In fact, he’s completely switching gears with a new grilled cheese sandwich chain dubbed “The Melt” that’s generating a lot of buzz.
The transition from camcorders to grilled cheese is an odd one, but Kaplan isn’t abandoning his tech background entirely. You will be able to purchase your sandwich and a number of simple soups via your smartphone and use the resulting QR code to swipe in the store when you arrive. That means little or no waiting.
The menu may be simple, but there’s a lot more going on that you might think. Kaplan has teamed up with Electrolux to develop a microwave that can toast bread and nuke the cheese. He’s also using specialty breads that are loaded with air bubbles for the cheese to fill.
Sounds tasty, and the proposed price only makes things better. A typical sandwich with soup combo will run about $8.
Kaplan has enough capital to start 20 Melt locations, with another 500 planned over the next four years. The first four will be opening in San Francisco and Palo Alto soon, and the locations will be open as late as 2am to accomodate a late night crowd.