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Melting Pot Targets Iowa as the Next Development Market in Its Aggressive Growth Plan

The iconic fondue franchise has identified capacity for a new location in Iowa and is focusing on development in Des Moines.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 4:16PM 02/16/24

DES MOINES, IA – After an impressive year of unit-level sales growth and system-wide remodeling efforts, Melting Pot, the 94-unit experiential dining fondue franchise, is eyeing Iowa for expansion. With capacity for a new location in Des Moines, the team is looking for the right franchise partner to pioneer its Iowa growth.

“We’ve seen incredible demand for The Melting Pot in Iowa in recent years,” said Bob Johnston, CEO. “It’s clear that the market is amenable to our expansion, and we’re confident that we can establish an incredibly successful new restaurant with the right franchise partners.”

In January, Melting Pot visited Des Moines to host in-person Discovery Roadshows in partnership with the Ankeny and West Des Moines Chambers of Commerce. These events drew many interested community members, including franchisee candidates, financial backers and even landlords. 

This momentum, in combination with Melting Pot’s careful analysis of cultural, demographic, geographic and economic data, proves Des Moines to be a prime market.

“By utilizing years of internal data, we have found a way to utilize market segmentation to confirm that the types of guests that grow our brand are well represented in Des Moines,” said Johnston. “Des Moines has been proven as a very interesting growth opportunity, and we’re especially interested in West Des Moines, Ankeny and downtown Des Moines.”

Because of Melting Pot’s streamlined and guest-focused culinary approach, the concept can fit in sites that other, more traditional restaurant concepts cannot, creating flexibility and broadening the range of potential sites available to a new owner during the development process.

As a legacy brand with over four decades of history, Melting Pot has established itself as the go-to fondue restaurant for “eatertainment,” connection, celebration and experiential dining in communities nationwide. For franchisees who choose to open a location, the franchise opportunity also presents an opportunity to become a local hero of sorts.

“It is the mission of the brand to provide guests with their perfect night out, whatever that looks like — especially today with what's gone on in the world over the last few years,” Johnston said. “Guests choose us over other options because we carefully craft an environment that encourages gathering with people they care about and spending quality time with them. The Melting Pot provides the perfect environment for that. What happens in a Melting Pot is as much about what's going on around that fondue pot as what's in that pot.”

With robust training and long-term support from a team of experts, Melting Pot owners are prepared to deliver a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience to their communities as they work toward achieving their own entrepreneurial dreams. A streamlined kitchen build-out and increased real estate flexibility also empowers owners to launch more quickly than what would be possible with other, more traditional hospitality concepts, meaning they can become profitable even sooner.

With nearly 75% of restaurants achieving all-time sales records in 2021 and 2022, it’s clear that Melting Pot is in high demand. A major driver of this traffic has been its push to remodel restaurants’ interiors, refreshing the experience and demonstrating its flexibility and longevity.

Melting Pot had a strong 2023 with over 20% of restaurants reopening after a push to remodel, and they don’t plan to stop there; the brand is on track to see a total of 37 remodeled reopenings this year alone. As the franchisor continues to work alongside passionate entrepreneurs to drive system growth, it’s also targeting expansion in Pennsylvania, Alabama, Virginia, Nevada, Texas and Georgia.

About Melting Pot

Founded in 1975, Melting Pot has offered a unique fondue dining experience for more than 45 years. As the premier fondue restaurant franchise, Melting Pot has 94 restaurants in 31 U.S. states and Canada. Known for offering a variety of fondue cooking styles and unique entrées, Melting Pot’s menu also features cheese fondues, salads, fine wines, spirits and chocolate fondue desserts. Fondue fans can join Melting Pot’s Club Fondue for exclusive promotions, special events and advance holiday reservation privileges. Melting Pot is an affiliate of Front Burner Brands, a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Florida. For more information, visit To learn more about franchise opportunities with Melting Pot, please visit

About Front Burner

Headquartered in Tampa, Front Burner is the restaurant management company for Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., the new casual whimsical dining concept Melting Pot Social and fast-casual concept  Oronzo Honest Italian! Melting Pot currently has more than 96 restaurants in 31 U.S. states and Canada. Melting Pot Social opened its first location in July 2021 in Asheville, NC. Oronzo opened its first location in Tampa, FL. in June 2020 and will open a second location in the area in October of 2021. For more information, visit