The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. announced a same-store sales increase of 3.1 percent over the previous year, as well as a bump in overall traffic to its restaurants in 2015. Those results combined with key awards, menu and design innovations, and strategic growth over the past year have secured the brand's place as "one to watch" in 2016 for international and domestic franchise development.
The Melting Pot's same-store sales increase outpaces that of the industry average of 2.7 percent for casual dining establishments, which was reported in MillerPulse's Business Conditions Report. The brand also saw an increase of 1.5 percent in guest traffic whereas the casual dining industry reportedly was down 0.4 percent on average in guest counts year over year.
"Coming off the heels of our 40th anniversary this is a significant achievement for The Melting Pot. Last year, we experienced an increase in sales without increasing our national menu prices," says Mike Lester, president of The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. "We were able to maintain our current prices, by driving additional guests into our restaurants and retaining strong food purchasing contracts."
While the traditional fondue experience is still at the core of what sets The Melting Pot apart, the company spent 2015 thinking outside of the pot for ways to accelerate speed of service and increase repeat business. After extensive research into dining preferences and needs, the company began testing an additional menu of cooked-to-order small plate entrées called FonDONE, as well as an interior redesign that maximizes dining space and comfort. Both initiatives are on display at the company's newest domestic location, which opened in November in Maple Shade, New Jersey. FonDONE, which streamlines the dining experience and provides an alternative for a shorter lunch or dinner outing, was first introduced at The Melting Pot's St. Petersburg, Florida, location in early 2015.
The Maple Shade location was the first to unveil The Melting Pot's new design initiative. Detailed seating analysis and study of customer design preferences has culminated in improved seating areas throughout the dining room and bar to maximize restaurant space and create multiple interior environments to delight and surprise guests.
The Melting Pot plans to expand its footprint in select markets throughout the U.S. and overseas. Domestically, the company is seeking new franchisees in select markets, including Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; South Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Des Moines, Iowa; Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York; and Charleston, South Carolina. On the international front, The Melting Pot is focusing its expansion efforts in target markets across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan. Earlier in 2015, The Melting Pot announced the opening of its first restaurants in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The company just recently opened its first restaurant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in January 2016.