Josh Morgan, COO of Melt Shop
COO Josh Morgan described his concept, the Melt Shop, as a fast-casual restaurant granting diners permission to enjoy the food. “We invented the melted sandwich concept while playing with our friends,” he told the audience on day two of the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference in Las Vegas. “We started with grilled cheese and evolved.”
While the base expectation of hospitality is good food and service, Morgan said, “We’re not in the business of making food. Our primary business is unlocking the feelings, memories and moments that bring you joy.”
In other words, there’s no judgment of how many shakes you consume at one sitting or that you ordered tater tots as your side, rather than the healthier option. The menu is comfort food made fresh, with an emphasis on tater tots, shakes, melted sandwiches (cheese, burgers, turkey) and a new addition, chicken tenders.
Founded in 2011 in New York City, the franchise currently has 12 corporate-owned restaurants and three franchises. By the end of the year, they expect to add 10 more, Morgan said, eight of which will be either franchised or licensed.
They’ve recently signed on two Five Guys burger franchisees as multi-unit franchisees, one in central Florida. They also have a nontraditional unit opening in the Pittsburgh airport, which will be followed by another unit in JFK airport in New York City.
Rather than focus on the food or the numbers, Morgan stressed the ethos of their brand, which includes neoteny (the retention of juvenile behaviors into adulthood).
“If we were a DJ we’d be QuestLove; if we were a car, we’d be a Jeep; if were a hotel we’d be the ACE; if we were an athlete we’d be Kevin Durant; if we were a building we’d be the Cooper Union,” he said, flashing slides of trendy, cool people and places, mostly relevant to New Yorkers.
“But we’re none of that, we’re a sandwich restaurant,” he added. But a trendy, cool sandwich brand in good company.