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The Happy Customer Index

How the Melting Pot is re-emerging from COVID-19 stronger

The 100+-unit fondue chain is expanding its franchising footprint amid a menu overhaul


Before the pandemic, Front Burner Brands’ the Melting Pot — the Tampa, Fla.-based fondue chain of fine dining restaurants —was supposed to launch a whole new streamlined menu, but that effort was put on hold due to the pandemic. Now, the Melting Pot has reopened all of its restaurants and sales are growing exponentially with 30 weeks of double-digit traffic growth over 2019 numbers.

“It’s not just a restaurant, it's an experience, and people are craving that since the pandemic,” CEO Bob Johnston said. “I think that's why we are performing so well and frankly, a lot better than anybody I've been able to get numbers from or spoken with in the industry.”

Moving forward, The Melting Pot is looking to expand franchising and add new franchisees to the team, with plans for the new Melting Pot Social spinoff: the “younger, hipper cousin” to the Melting Pot with shorter experience times (which originally could run up to 2-3 hours per table) and an emphasis on the bar program.

“We're addressing some of the challenges of the Melting Pot experience with the current service model,” Johnston said. “[…] This is probably the most significant undertaking that the Melting Pot will have done in decades in terms of improving the concept. All of that will be happening next year.”

Think new menus, a more modern experience and shorter table times.

“Our new restaurants will be more energetic and hipper,” Johnston said about a new store that recently opened in the Red Bank, N.J. area.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

TAGS: Menu
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