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June 4, 2017

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The $10 Million Melted Cheese Store Everyone’s Talking About (Nope! Not a Joke!)

Forget Mars colonies and AI. Kaplan declared he had “developed a set of technology that allows us to make the perfect grilled cheese.” The innovation was as meaningful as it was miraculous: the sandwich had “that nostalgic thing,” Kaplan explained. Grilled cheese sandwiches were the fast food equivalent of Proust’s madeleines, priming them for disruption. Swisher and Mossberg openly smirked. “I feel like this is post-traumatic stress from Cisco,” said Swisher. “I think he went home and looked at his money,” Mossberg deadpanned. Kaplan was unfazed. Armed with a tech founder’s unflappable confidence and ambitious growth targets, he announced plans to open 500 fast-casual outlets within five years — all of them company-owned, not franchised. Never mind that it had taken Chipotle three times as long to hit that milestone using the same model. Kaplan felt confident in his melted-cheese rocket ship. The Melt boasted an elite group of investors —…