It's a bird! It's a plane! It's – a parachuting grilled cheese sandwich?
Melbourne, Australia-based company Jafflechutes funded a $5,000 campaign to bring grilled cheese sandwiches – called jaffles in Australia – to the skies of New York City.
The company's plan, which has been tested out over the last nine months in the streets of Melbourne, is designed to add some fun to food delivery. When the company announces via social media it is taking orders, customers buy a jaffle through PayPal, set a delivery time, and then wait at the pre-appointed location with other hungry cheese lovers for the sandwiches to float down from the sky – or from tall nearby buildings.
How does Jafflechutes plan to cash in on the New York City market? Right now, it seems that the company is more focused on making customers smile than making money, as Jafflechutes calls itself "intentionally profit-neutral."
Jafflechutes outlines their challenges as, "scraggly trees, unnecessary ledges, mild-to-unfair wind gusts, misplaced roofs," as well as over-promising and under-delivering. However, the most difficult barrier for the "profit-agnostic" company may in fact be dealing with the American government. The U.S. is notoriously twitchy about deliveries from the sky. It only takes one person getting pegged in the face with grilled cheese to ruin flying food for the whole city.
The U.S. government has been struggling to keep up with innovative airborne delivery, specifically the use of drones. While reports estimate that more than $8.9 billion will be spent on commercial drones in the next decade, the Federal Aviation Administration announced it would not be able to meet its 2015 deadline to integrate drones in the commercial space. That means it will be a few years before Amazon can debut their proposed -- and heavily-hyped – delivery drones and that existing projects, like Lakemaid's small-scale beer delivery for ice fishermen, are being shut down.
However, even as the drone market expands, Jafflechutes and other companies prove that there are more ways for companies to take to the sky than drones. DHL recently introduced helicopter service in Los Angeles, looking for a speedier way to make urgent deliveries. Whether by drone, helicopter, or parachute, you may find yourself looking up in the coming years when you're expecting anything from express mail to grilled cheese.