Not only does The Melt’s patent-pending Smart Box solve one of the grilled cheese chain’s most vexing problems—maintaining the ideal temperature, texture and mouthfeel of its signature sandwiches during transport to catering customers. The invention may also create a lucrative sideline business for this 15-unit San Francisco-based company, selling its technology to other operators who face similar deliver issues. Catering is a fertile field for fast casual restaurant chains, especially at lunch.
Many operators have a love/hate relationship with online review site Yelp, skewing toward the latter each time an anonymous reviewer trashes their restaurant online. But even Yelp’s biggest enemies may find themselves making frequent use of Yelp Trends, a searchable database of 57 million Yelp reviews that tracks trends over time and further breaks them down by individual markets.
Market trackers at international business intelligence firm IBISWorld think sriracha is poised to go mainstream, thanks to the rising popularity of ethnic cuisine, particularly among Millennial consumers.
But because attention to the caliber of food and drink that will be served to guests has become a key part of the wedding planning process, restaurants now have a better shot at making catered receptions a profitable sideline business.