The Melting Pot, the 94-unit experiential dining fondue franchise, has had a hot start to the year with over 30 restaurants reopening after a push to remodel, a new pair of franchise owners joining the system and strong trends in guest count.
“We’re beating last year’s numbers in terms of sales and guest count,” says Collin Benyo, franchise growth strategist. “There are great results that are exceeding our standards, and both the franchisees and guests are feeling that.”
With over 30 restaurants remodeled in line with the Melting Pot Evolution standards, a new, more modern prototype that embraces playful elements that hint to fire and fondue, The Melting Pot is on track to see a total of 60 remodeled reopenings this year alone.
“There has been a lot of good movement of people reinvesting back into their stores and communities,” adds Benyo. “We’ve been around for nearly 50 years, and this remodeling effort ensures that we are sticking with industry trends and staying up to date.The local owners are happy to participate because they’re proud of what they’ve built and want to make sure they look great.”
The brand’s numerous remodeled restaurants have been a key driver of buzz, but the excitement does not stop there.
The Melting Pot awarded a franchise agreement to a New Haven, Connecticut couple. Though the brand previously had a restaurant open in the state, when its owners took steps to exit, the new franchisees simply could not see their state without their favorite fondue restaurant.
With this momentum, Benyo said he is looking to finalize up to eight more agreements by the end of the year.
“Our goal at the start of our most recent development campaign was to focus on the Southeast — Texas, Alabama, South Carolina and Florida,” says Benyo. “We see a lot of momentum in those states specifically, but we’re seeing inquiries from prospective franchisees nationwide.”
As it continues to expand, The Melting Pot is welcoming hotel partners to the network. Existing hotel owner-operators who have space within their hotels for The Melting Pot to establish a restaurant have the opportunity to partner with the well-known brand to bring an iconic offering to their hometown and establish a familiar go-to for traveling guests.
“This is a new strategy that we’ve been looking at based on the success of the King of Prussia location that’s in close proximity to a hotel,” says Benyo. “There’s a symbiotic relationship to be had between a hotel and a world-class operation like Melting Pot, and the great part is that many of these owners already have a hospitality mindset, so they understand food costs, figures, operations and the Melting Pot mindset.”
Looking to the remainder of the year, the system is excited to celebrate its 20th year of partnership with St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Each year for the past two decades, The Melting Pot supports the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign. From mid-October through the end of the year, Melting Pot guests have an opportunity to donate $10 to the campaign. For each donation, guests receive a Donate & Dine card valid for $20 off a future purchase of at least $50 at The Melting Pot.
“We saw monumental donations last year,” says Benyo. “We promised that if we hit $1 million in donations, we would shave Bob’s head. He was happy to do it, and it was fun to see everyone across the system rally to benefit the kids of St. Jude.”