359 | Franchise Opportunity

November 30, 2014
Sunday, 9:00 p.m.
Letter #359: Franchise Opportunity


Dear Family,

Look, a lot of my letters give you a glimpse into my week in prison, or I might share about an inmate I’ve met, or I might tell you about what God is teaching me. And you faithfully read these letters, pray for me, and even send me encouraging reply emails that my dad prints and mails to me every week. I am so blessed by all of this support that I’ve decided to let you in on an incredible money-making venture that you can do right from the comfort of your own home.

In today’s economy, which I admittedly am virtually immune to, here in my concrete bunker, this is the perfect business. Anyone can do it, at any age, with limited skills or knowledge. And, you can begin with just a few common items and virtually no start-up costs, just a small ongoing franchise earnings percentage due every month. I know. It sounds too good to be true, right? I’m talking about opening your very own Grilled Cheese Franchise, as part of the C and D’s Grilled Cheese growing sandwich empire. Here’s how:

First, I must give props to my long-ago cellie and initial business partner, Tom, under whose expert direction and advice I cut my teeth on this business two-and-a-half years ago. In two months of business, Tom and I sold over 550 grilled cheese sandwiches, before shutting down the grill for good. Now I have re-established this incredible business with my cellie, Duffy, and the sandwiches are flying off the grill once again. I will give you a brief rundown of how we operate, and you can adjust our methods to your own location and equipment on hand, while preserving the basic recipe.

The key to operating a business, once you have a solid product or service that is in demand, is to never run out of supplies. These supplies make you money, so you must find a way to keep them in stock: bread, butter, and cheese. These three are the three branches of government in a grilled cheese franchise, so that you have a functioning business. The bread, as a foundation, is like the Judicial Branch of government; the butter, like Congress in the Legislative Branch of government, adjusts the bread to the taste of the consumer; the cheese, like the President in the Executive Branch, is mostly there to look good, but lacks any real nutritional value.

At Christopher and Duffy’s Grilled Cheese, we source our bread, butter, and cheese locally. We use bread from inmates who, like ourselves, receive kosher meals, with 8–10 slices of bread per day, each. We give them a ramen noodle soup for every eight slices of bread they give us. The butter comes from the same source, and is usually donated to us.

The cheese is sourced from inmates in our pod who receive vegetarian meals, since the only thing the prison does to make them “vegetarian” is to substitute any meat with American cheese slices. They are of such poor quality as compared with the typical American cheese slices that they should be called Guam cheese slices: technically American, but not quite the real thing. They are probably manufactured from chemical run-off, pressed between plastic and left to harden to perfection, which sounds as appetizing as they taste. But, hey, it works for what we need, so no complaints here. Six slices for a ramen soup.

I start with one buttered slice of bread, face down in the bottom of my hot pot like it did something wrong and I’m making it think about it. A piece of cheese covers the shame of its bare backside, and with a little encouragement from a sawed-off spork (I think that’s called a spoon?), turning and prodding it, the cheese pretends to melt. A quick dash of our proprietary blend of two herbs and spices give each sandwich a cayenne-garlicy taste, and I grill the other side once I’ve added the second buttered bread slice.

Finished sandwiches get placed into long sheets of plastic wrap our kosher meals come wrapped in, because we at C and D’s are big into recycling. Four sandwiches fit into each piece of wrap, then get slid under the door of our cell, all in a row, to the waiting public. We’ve copied the success of other restaurants, such as Krispy Kreme, who notifies its customers of fresh-baked goods when their “HOT” light is on. Our shop has “HOT Grilled Cheese” sign we put up in our window that notifies potential customers usually moments after their noses clued them in.

Because we are in the food industry, and everyone needs to eat, we sell out every night we cook. Like Chick-fil-A, we’re closed on Sundays, but we stay busy every other night, making anywhere from 8–25 of our hot grilled cheese sandwiches a night, selling them for a ramen noodle soup each (the currency of choice here), or two for a dollar, paid from our prison commissary.

It’s the easiest business to get into, and I want to prove it to you: I challenge you to sign and return the attached C and D’s Grilled Cheese Franchise Agreement, in which you agree to make at least ONE grilled cheese sandwich and serve it to one of your neighbors, and you will see that you have made a friend for life (and possibly even a customer for life, depending upon your motivation). We will even waive the first month’s franchise earning’s percentage, to help you get started.

Also, in lieu of signing the agreement, you may simply reply to our email and let us know you’ve taken—and completed—our challenge. All returned agreements or email replies will be acknowledged in a future email. You may include a picture of your restaurant if you’d like to be included in our Hall of Excellence. Now go and be cheesy!