Yes, it’s $10 for a grilled cheese. Sigh.
It’s very rare we hear or read any negative feedback about Gorilla Cheese, but when we do, this is easily the most common complaint. It’s also the dumbest. Yes, it is $10 for a grilled cheese. And it’s also a great deal.
Firstly, it’s not $10 for a grilled cheese, it’s $8 for the Original Gorilla Cheese Sandwich (The O.G.), and it’s only $5 for the Picky Kid*, which is our closest sandwich to the traditional-style grilled cheese you’d get at a diner or commonly make yourself at home. The $10 sandwiches are deluxe grilled cheeses with a whole bunch of other good stuff in them. So, no, it’s not $10 for a grilled cheese, it’s $5 for a better version of the type of grilled cheese of which the naysayers speak.
We could sell grilled cheeses for only $3, if we wanted to. We could use margarine, generic-name bread and Kraft slices and sell ‘em real nice n’ cheap. But that’s not our style. We want to make the best grilled cheese sandwiches we can, so we use Jensen Cheese, a family-run artisan cheese company in Simcoe. In our opinion, they make the best Cheddar and Mozzarella in Ontario. We also have our bread custom-made by local bakery Cake & Loaf, whose high standards and delicious food make them the best bakery in Hamilton. And we use real butter, not chemically-processed margarine. These things add up to make a higher-quality (and far tastier) grilled cheese sandwich. And almost forgot…our sandwiches are almost twice as large as a typical grilled cheese!
Now, forget everything you know. It’s not $10 for a grilled cheese. Actually, it’s not even $5 for a grilled cheese. The Picky Kid costs $4.40, and the Lumberjack costs you $8.85. (Palm to forehead) TAXES! Your price includes taxes!! So a Lumberjack, which includes 2 slices of Jensen Cheddar, 2 slices of Cake & Loaf custom bread, real butter**, real bacon, real Canadian maple syrup ($$!) and real Granny Smith apples, costs you $8.85, plus HST, which we have to pay to the government. And more often than not, that Gorilla Cheese sandwich includes a Strub’s pickle spear (the best pickles, again in our opinion) on the side, so there’s some even-more value.
If you were to make the same sandwich at home using the same ingredients, you’d be paying approximately $6 each, and you’d have to make a whole bunch of them with the quantities of ingredients you’d have to buy. We buy in bulk, so we don’t pay quite that much, but our food costs are often higher on many items than the typical restaurant standard of 33%. And don’t forget, you have somebody conveniently making that delicious sandwich for you with a smile and out of a cool black truck. That hard-working hero has to try and make a living too. Yes, of course you can make it at home for cheaper, but that’s kind of missing the point as to why any food service business exists.
Food trucks are not necessarily cheap, but they do provide great value to the consumer. Think of the food truck’s costs to operate in terms of percentages, based on industry standards. 33% food costs, 33% staffing and 13% to taxes. We’re at 79% for the mere basics. Almost every time we operate, we have to pay an average 10% of our gross revenue to whoever is holding the event, whether in “donations” or vendor fees. That’s now 89% in costs, or $8.90 for us to make that $10 grilled cheese. We haven’t yet taken into consideration the cost to store the truck (ie rent – you can’t store that truck in your driveway!), gasoline, insurance, propane, repairs, equipment, licenses, etc., all of which are also major costs. This may explain why the trucks need to sell a lot of food to try and eke out a profit, and why many trucks (particularly evident in Toronto) have sought to expand into brick & mortar restaurants (ourselves included, but more on that later.) So as an add-on moral to the story, please, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FOOD TRUCK!!
This article isn’t for everybody. It’s almost always people who have never tried a Gorilla Cheese sandwich who complain about the price. Sometimes it’s just a fuddy-duddy who seeks an excuse to complain about something, and probably wouldn’t buy one regardless of price. Most people can figure out the value for themselves, but for those who need learnin’, that is why it’s “ten bucks for a grilled cheese” from Gorilla Cheese.
Almost forgot… it’s also because they’re freakishly delicious.
* The Picky Kid is a sandwich we sell at many younger events, for those under-developed palettes that don’t necessarily want real cheese. We use Pullman-sized Cake & Loaf bread (the same size as the usual white bread) and two processed-slices (that kind you get on diner-style grilled cheeses that use one slice) made by Jensen, which is higher-quality than the typical Kraft or Black Diamond. Those cheeses usually contain 18-31% milk solids (real cheese) while Jensen’s contains 51% milk solids.
** We mix mayonnaise into our butter to help them cook faster and give them a crispy bite.