A grilled cheese delivery service intended to provide cheap and accessible food is now making three freshmen a little more cheddar than they expected.
GORT’S Grilled Cheese, created by Rithwik Pattikonda, Trevor Fu and Ashwin Suresh, takes orders through Google Forms sent on GroupMe and is named after the app’s security bot. Pattikonda began to ponder the business with his two friends when he couldn’t find inexpensive food and sufficient vegetarian options, but the final push came when he said he received a lackluster grilled cheese at Littlefield Cafe for about four dollars. The group sells their sandwiches for two dollars.
“I’ve had a huge problem with food here,” computer science freshman Pattikonda said. “Even with the (vegetarian) options, I ended up starving myself a lot of the days. I was thinking of how to solve the problem and maybe like something affordable, something convenient.”
Business freshman Suresh said GroupMe users were originally suspicious of GORT’S Grilled Cheese when the service ran beta testing from Sept. 14 through Sept. 16. They received only three orders the first day and around 20 the second day. However, they made about 80 grilled cheeses Sept. 16 after Jeffrey Wang, a computer science and business freshman who is well-known in the UT22 GroupMe, vouched for the business the night before.
“I’m not like a grilled cheese connoisseur or anything, but it was definitely pretty good,” Wang said. “If they get a better system going, then I think it’ll be really efficient and really nice.”
The three freshmen worked from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. that Sunday, and Pattikonda said they even bought all of the bread and cheese from the Dobie Target. The next day, Suresh noticed a grilled cheese stand outside Jester East, but Fu said GORT’S is a one-of-a-kind service.
“We’re fundamentally different because we deliver it to them rather than having them come to us, and what we’re marketing — based on — is not just how good the sandwich is,” business freshman Fu said. “It’s also about how accessible it is to everybody because they don’t have to go anywhere.”
GORT’S Grilled Cheese officially launches this Friday and will be open Friday through Sunday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., though hours are subject to change based on performance. The group has purchased a toaster oven so they won’t have to cook in the Jester East kitchen anymore as well as a scooter to aid on-foot deliveries. They have delivered over 150 orders but already have bigger aspirations, such as hiring cooks and deliverymen, expanding to West Campus and reaching out to other businesses.
“A lot of people said that Tiff’s Treats and Pluckers started out the same way, so we’re trying to get in contact with them,” Pattikonda said. “Apparently, they were also students at UT doing the exact same thing.”