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How This Cincinnati Melting Pot Franchisee Grew From a Server to a Multi-Unit Owner

With dedication, proof of concept and ongoing support from the franchisor, Chris Millsap became a franchisee after five years with the company and has since grown to four restaurant locations.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSORED 1:13PM 04/19/24

Chris Millsap has been with the Melting Pot system for 23 years. He has spent over 17 of them as an owner. Like many Melting Pot franchisees, Millsap joined the system as a restaurant employee, and when he got an opportunity to step into leadership and begin building a career with the brand, he jumped on it. 

Now, with four Melting Pot restaurants and additional investments beyond the brand, Millsap has grown to be one of Melting Pot’s most successful franchisees. Millsap joined 1851 Franchise Publisher Nick Powills to reflect on his journey and share insights from the top.

“The latter part of my college career was spent in restaurants and in pursuit of an accounting degree. I thought that was going to be the career path. I graduated and went on to pursue an accounting career,” Millsap said. “I was thinking about being a CPA while moonlighting at Melting Pot on the weekends. I kind of had this battle in my head of which one I preferred, and Melting Pot helped me decide that because I was offered a management position.”

With this new role in sight, Millsap also began to look at Melting Pot as a place he could build a career rather than just a job. As he worked his way up through the management ranks, he looked at franchising. Having been privy to the financials of the restaurant through his management roles, Millsap better understood the trends. When he decided to pursue ownership, he had a clear illustration of the possibilities. 

At age 28, he presented the opportunity to his parents. His dad became a business partner, and they successfully secured a loan that would launch their trajectory with the brand. Millsap noted that, while hard work and dedication to the brand are essential, and the ongoing support of the franchisor is invaluable, sometimes entrepreneurs just need a bit of a break or “divine intervention.” 

Given that Melting Pot is a high-investment, high-reward model, financing can be a primary concern for young, passionate entrepreneurs like Millsap. The leadership team understands this and works to offer support where it can. Currently, Melting Pot is offering a limited-time franchise growth incentive that will lower the barrier to entry and allow franchisees to reinvest in their businesses.

Through July 1, 2024, new or existing franchise owners who execute a new restaurant franchise agreement will pay only a $5,000 franchise fee per unit (discounted from $45,000* — with a rebate paid at lease signing). Leases must be executed within nine months to earn the rebate. If the lease is executed within six months, franchisees will receive a reduced royalty rate of 3% for the first year.

With this development incentive and robust ongoing support, Melting Pot franchisees are able to concentrate all of their energy on the success and growth of their businesses, scaling to multiple profitable restaurants and new career heights like Millsap has.

“I believe, on some surface level, that franchises are perceived to be passive investments. If you want to be a successful franchisee, you have to get into whatever it is you choose to franchise,” he said. “You have to work alongside the teams to ensure that they’re following the lead or mirroring your passion. It took me at least 10 years to get a team of people to feel the same way I do about the brand, and now that I’ve been able to achieve that, it’s allowed me a little bit of extra freedom to back off and focus more on my family and step into the next stage of my career where I’m building all these younger folks up to, essentially, replace myself someday.”

Watch the full conversation above or by clicking here.

Total investments range from $1.3 million–$2 million. For more information, visit

*Not applicable to successor franchise agreements.