It may be just four years old, but Cheeseboy has already hit a major milestone: one million grilled cheese sandwiches sold.
“The milestone is a testament to all the hard work my team has put together in opening locations, serving our guests, doing everything we can to make sure the guest wants to come back for additional experiences at Cheeseboy,” says Michael Inwald, founder and president of the nine-unit grilled cheese chain.
And in honor of the big accomplishment, the brand is not only giving away free grilled cheeses for life, but also $10,000 to one lucky guest’s favorite charity.
In a contest that asks fans what they would do for one million grilled cheeses, guests can submit a 200-words-or-less response detailing how they would help make a positive impact on the world. Cheeseboy will bring one fan’s dream to life, giving away $10,000 to the winner’s favorite charity—and a grilled cheese each week for life.
Contest entries are being judged on creativity, appropriateness, and viability of the charitable initiative, and guests have until August 31 to submit their responses. While only one Cheeseboy fan can be the grand-prize winner, five runners up will win a free grilled cheese each week for a year.
Inwald says the contest’s charitable angle aligns with the brand’s philosophy of bettering the world and the communities in which it operates—a philosophy that’s part of Cheeseboy’s identity in many ways. Each time the brand opens a new unit, for example, it donates a full day’s worth of proceeds to a charitable organization.
“This program is really in line with all of our programs whereby we try to encourage that positive, socially conscious behavior amongst our team members, as well as our fans,” Inwald says. “We certainly hope it will encourage a lot of people to think about ways that they can improve the world around them and possibly get grilled cheese for life.”
Not only is he proud to help the community with this contest, but Inwald says he’s also impressed with the hard work his team has done over the years to accomplish this goal.
“In reaching the milestone, we’re able to sort of celebrate the work that we’ve put in,” he says, “and it also gives us the encouragement to reach our next milestone—whichever number that is.”
But Inwald says he’s careful not to lay that next goal or milestone out too clearly.
“I don’t want to have perverse incentives so that people cut corners to reach those goals,” he says. “So if it’s, ‘We want to sell a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches,’ we don’t want to be aggressive in our stores and make an uncomfortable experience for our guests. We don’t want to open more stores than we can support, because we don’t want any stores that are not going to be a strong business in and of itself.”
By Mary Avant