The Melt soup-and-grilled cheese concept on Thursday said it would addservice to most of its locations starting next week.
The announcement comes as the fast-casual chain plans to ratchet up growth significantly — mostly focused on California — with the addition of another 15 to 17 units, according to Paul Coletta, the The Melt's chief marketing officer.
Founded by Flip Video founder Jonathan Kaplan, The Melt has currently has four locations open in the San Francisco Bay area, with a fifth scheduled to open in Berkeley, Calif., this summer.
Breakfast will be available at new locations where it makes sense, said Coletta. “It’s the fastest growing daypart in the industry and it’s the most important meal of the day,” he said, noting that The Melt’s use of technology to improve speed of service will appeal to time-starved morning diners.
The Melt is known for its use of online ordering and QR codes that allow guests to skip the line. Customers can place orders via their smart phone, which issues a QR barcode. When they arrive at the restaurant, they can scan the code to avoid standing in line.
Sandwiches are not cooked until the guest arrives in the store, so they are prepared fresh and hot, said Coletta. “Our goal is to serve the best breakfast for under $6 in less than 3 minutes,” he added.
Breakfast menu options will include a line of sandwiches, including a signature Egg in the Hole Breakfast Melt with freshly cracked eggs and complementary bacon by request. Other items include a Banana Maple Waffle or Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Lemon Cream Cheese.
The Melt is also offering slow-cooked steel-cut oatmeal, said Coletta, and the coffee platform is Peet’s Coffee & Tea brand.
Hours vary by store, but typically, breakfast service at The Melt will be available from around 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The Stanford unit will not offer breakfast because it’s located in a mall that doesn’t open until mid-morning.
Coletta said systemwide sales at The Melt so far have exceeded expectations, though he declined to give specifics.
The addition of breakfast could significantly grow traffic for the brand because it offers both value and speed for morning commuters, he said. Breakfast sandwiches are also among the hottest morning menu offerings among limited-service restaurants.
“People love the value proposition,” he said. “We’re offering something unique: comfort and value.”
In addition to adding breakfast, The Melt has switched to Boylan brand cane sugar-sweetened fountain sodas in an effort to keep the menu all natural and free of high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils, said Coletta.
The Melt is funded in part by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. The firm is chaired by Silicon Valley investor Michael Moritz, who has also backed companies like Google, LinkedIn, PayPal and Yahoo.