We’ve all heard about pop-up eateries, but what about float-down jaffles? After a successful Pozible campaign, a Melbourne toasted sandwich-making start-up called Jafflechutes is parachuting toasted sandwiches from the skies at set locations around Melbourne and has plans to expand to the US this month.
Adam Grant, who co-founded Jafflechutes with friends David McDonald and Huw Parkinson last August, says Melbourne is ideally suited to Jafflechutes owing to its abundance of inner-city laneways. “We try to never do it in the same place twice – we are usually doing it from friends’ balconies above the CBD,” he says.
“We have a few requirements for launching sites – it has to be between four to six stories, obviously away from trees and ledges. Melbourne’s laneways mean we can operate away from thoroughfares in the knowledge that we’re not going to interfere with traffic. We will only communicate with people on the ground via Twitter and social media – yelling off the balcony wouldn’t be a good look.”
The concept behind Jafflechutes is simple. They announce their next planned event, people place jaffle orders online, then the precise location is revealed via social media. “So its a slow reveal over a few days about the location, the time, the ingredients, that kind of thing. When people order off our website they nominate a time within a bracket that we determine.
“So for example they might order two cheese and tomato jaffles at 7PM for Alex. So at 7PM we made them, write the name on the bag, and chute them down.”
The story of how Jafflechutes came into existence sounds like a modern social media age fairytale. As Grant tells it, the three founders booked a cabin in the remote country Victorian town of Yandoit via Airbnb, but when they arrived they discovered it had no electricity. “So we got there and had to sit in the dark and cold just talking rather than playing on YouTube or whatever.
“It was kind of confronting, we talked about a lot of stuff that night, but the one thing that really came out of it was the concept behind Jafflechuting.”
Grant says Jafflechuting has maintained its DIY ethos and does not make a profit from the enterprise. “We make the chutes from tape, garbage bags, nylon string and a bit of wire. They take quite a while to put together but that’s part of the fun for us.
“After we started doing this we haven’t been out much on a Friday or Saturday night because we spend all out time making the chutes. We do encourage people to recycle the Jafflechutes because it tends to generate a bit of waste.”
Jafflechutes has been making waves globally, on social media and intelevision news stories in the US. Grant says they made the decision to launch a Pozible campaign to extend their reach across the Pacific to meet the growing groundswell of expectation to bring Jafflechutes to America.
“We’re aiming to do a number of events in a handful of cities – whatever we can handle, really. We were a bit reluctant to go down the crowd-funding route at first, as there are so many campaigns out there with causes nobler than ours – but for a loss-making non-business with America-sized ambition, there turned out to be no other option.”
For Jafflechutes, the journey from Yandoit to the US has been floated along with the help of social media, DIY whimsy and tomato and cheese jaffles.