Jonathan Kaplan revolutionized videography with his Flip video camera, introduced in 2006. He sold Flip’s maker, Pure Digital, to Cisco in 2009. Cisco, sadly, killed the product earlier this year—the company’s track record in consumer electronics has been less than stellar.
The Flip made a lot of people happy with its simplicity. Now Kaplan is turning from simple tech to simple food (he’s not the first geek to go foodie) launching a chain of grilled cheese restaurants, the Melt. He opened the first in San Francisco this week; he plans to open one in my town, Palo Alto, in November. Like the Flip, while simple, the Melt is not exactly low tech. Kaplan worked with Electrolux of Sweden to make a high-tech sandwich griller that combines induction burners that toast the bread and a microwave cheese melter to, the company says, make the perfect grilled cheese without squishing it like a panini. Melt also goes high tech for ordering; orders can be placed via smart phones, with payment made in the form of scannable QR codes. So far, the San Francisco foodie community isn’t impressed with the results, saying the cooking gizmo doesn’t really produce “grilled” cheese.
It all actually sounds pretty good to me, though I’m not likely to drive to San Francisco for grilled cheese, so I’ll likely wait until November to let you know how Melt’s food rates.