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Melting Pot to go dipping for business with new kiosk concept

TAMPA Fla. The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc. said it is debuting a new concept called Dip, a kiosk-style offshoot of the 120-unit casual-dining fondue chain, at a shopping center here in September.

The first Dip will be located in the Citrus Park Town Center operated by Westfield Shopping Centers. Future Dip units are planned at Westfield properties in the Florida cities of Clearwater and Brandon.

“This will give our franchisees additional opportunities to grow their clientele and generate additional revenues while at the same time providing economies of scale,” said Kendra Sartor, vice president of brand development for the Tampa-based company. “And it will give customers in the malls a taste of what our fondue products are all about.”

Because Melting Pot restaurants are special-occasion destinations, they have not been as affected by the macroeconomic pressures hurting other casual-dining chains, Sartor said.

Nonetheless, the chain is trying to lure traffic through the kiosks and such offerings as herbal-based cocktails and beer pairings, Sartor said, adding that the herbal-based cocktails have helped to boost liquor sales by 3 percent.

The Melting Pot chain recently opened its 120th location in Austin, Texas, and has 40 more units in development, according to Sartor.

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