Tom+Chee held a press conference to announce that the founders Corey Ward and Trew Quackenbush are going to be on ABC's "Shark Tank" on Friday, May 17, 2013.
A transcript of their prepared speeches follows:
Thank you for coming for Tom+Chee on National Grilled Cheese Day for our big announcement. I'm Corey Ward, this is Trew Quackenbush, his wife Jennifer Quackenbush, my wife Jenny Rachford, and our baby -- who'll be joining the team next month! We are the founders of Tom+Chee.
I've got some great news to share, and after I've filled you in, Trew will say a few words before we take questions, if you please.
When we started making grilled cheese on Fountain Square, in December of 2009, huddled in our tent around the warm griddle, we had dreams of growing Tom+Chee into a real store -- with walls, tables and chairs, and real heat!
The following summer we came back, serving out of our tent five days a week, in the hot sun, still dreaming of a real shop -- this time with air conditioning as well.
With a lot of hard work and help from our family and friends, we were able to realize that dream, opening our Court Street shop -- this location -- 364 days after serving our first grilled cheese.
With the enthusiastic support of the people of Cincinnati, and a lot of love from local media and food writers, we were able to attract national attention with Travel Channel's Man v Food Nation, and two episodes of their Amazing Eats, as well as CBS's The Chew. And our Grilled Cheese Donut was named one of the "Best New Sandwiches in America" by the TODAY Show.
We've been able to grow quickly to three Cincinnati-area shops: two downtown, and one at Newport on the Levee. People from all over the country visit our shops, because of our national media and television coverage -- and keep coming back because of our food.
In 2011 a family from Louisville, KY, stopped in this shop before a Bengals game. They enjoyed their food and visit so much that they asked if they could open a store back home, becoming our first franchisees. Natalie and Rich Tinsley now have two locations open, with a third under construction.
As we've grown, we've had to do what we can, not necessarily what we want -- bootstrapping our dream one grill cheese at a time. We always knew we'd need more help to grow if we wanted to take Tom+Chee to a national level.
We'd need an investor with deep pockets, as well as the experience and expertise to guide us from a family start-up to national grill cheese empire.
We're very happy to share with you today the news that Trew and I will be pitching Tom+Chee on the ABC show, "Shark Tank," on Friday May 17, at 9:00pm -- which can be viewed locally on WCPO, Channel 9.
The "Sharks" are a group of successful business professionals who could potentially invest in Tom+Chee, and we will be wooing them with tales of cheesy goodness -- as well as tempting their tastebuds with our signature Grilled Cheese Donut.
Let me again introduce Chef Trew Quackenbush, the culinary force behind Tom+Chee...
Thank you Corey, and thank you all for joining us today. National Grilled Cheese Day. What a concept, right? I wish that was around when I was a kid!
And that's really what we're all about at Tom+Chee, grilled cheese for the kid at heart.
We don't make "gourmet" grilled cheese or 'grilled cheese for grown ups' -- WE have an affordable and family-friendly menu. What's the difference? …About five dollars.
But QUALITY is at the center of all we do at Tom+Chee. EVERY morning we're in our stores, roasting our own meat, making our soups from scratch, chopping the fresh vegetables, and preparing our pesto, sauces, and dressings.
This commitment to a "homemade" style food has earned us a loyal and enthusiastic following.
As an underage, budding chef (working in a professional kitchen at 14), I dreamed of one day owning my own restaurant. My own 'cheesy slice of the American dream.'
We first started talking about Tom+Chee when my daughter was born, and she's now three and a half, growing into the Tom+Chee family. This venture -- or should I say adventure -- has been tough on our family. But with love and hard work, we have already achieved a great deal. And as we move forward into these next steps, I can only imagine what the future holds for us!
We're all really excited about being on "Shark Tank," and I'm especially excited to share my food with the world, and to start a 'feeding frenzy!'
Thank you again for coming today, and we'll take this opportunity to answer your questions -- but remember, we can't tell you any spoilers.
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