Flip camera inventor to make sandwiches instead

Posted by Kate Taylor

From inventing the Flip camera to - well, not flipping burgers, but producing grilled cheese sandwiches.

Jonathan Kaplan, the creator of the tiny camcorder, has launched The Melt, a chain of restaurants using high-tech concepts to deliver grilled cheese sandwiches and soup in record time.

Kaplan's signed leases on four Bay-area outlets, and hopes to expand the chain to a whopping 500 outlets in time.

Customers can order and pay for their lunch via the web or a special mobile app, then wander into any Melt outlet. There, thanks to some super-speedy new equipment, their sandwich can be cooked within a minute once the customer's QR code is scanned.

Kaplan's commissioned a new type of grill with built-in microwave from Electrolux, which is claimed to be able to produce a melt in just 60 seconds.

And why grilled cheese? "Because it makes people happy," says Kaplan.

The Flip made people happy too, until it was discontinued this April because of competition from cellphone cameras. We imagine Kaplan was pretty cheery, though, to have sold his company to Cisco in 2009 for a rather pleasing $590 million.