Comfort and convenience, with a QR twist

June 17, 2011

New eatery syncs sandwich production with customers’ swipes of their smartphones.

Here’s a classic comfort food served up as a convenient fast food.

Two twists help put a fresh face on grilled cheese to make it compelling in well-located outlets called The Melt:  the distinctive sandwich bread and cheese pairings, and the time-saving appeal for smartphone users who order in advance and are guaranteed to receive their sandwich within one minute of swiping their QR code upon arrival.

QR code swipes start a speedy production cycle sought by customers on meal break and others on the go. An Electrolux grill heats the cheese for 15 seconds and toasts the bread for 30 seconds, according to a Fast Company account from the D9 media and technology conference.  

Time will tell whether this will play out year-round and in warm climates. And even in ideal locations, if the reported $500,000 to $1 million it takes to open a shop will turn out to be feasible. Grilled cheese and hot soup has had followers for years, but in conventional settings.

If anything, The Lempert Report believes speedy production and checkout – especially in high-density locations – could help The Melt compete favorably against fast-food outlets and food trucks.

Perhaps supermarket delis could use QR codes in a similar manner – to eliminate inordinate wait times for many kinds of foods, or to highlight special prepared-meal offerings.