bannerFranchisor Stories

Melting Pot, the Nation's Favorite Fondue Franchise, Announces Strategic Growth Plan To Reach 125 Locations by 2026

The fondue brand sets its sights on the Southeast as it looks to bring its unique "polished-casual" concept to Birmingham, Charleston, Chattanooga, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Greensboro, Houston and Memphis.

By Chris LaMorte1851 Franchise Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 12:12PM 07/09/21

Melting Pot®, the country’s quintessential fondue dining franchise, is gearing up for tremendous growth. As the world begins slowly opening back up amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are hungry for exceptional, in-person dining experiences, and Melting Pot offers prospective franchisees a prime opportunity to tap into this demand through a beloved product, streamlined operations and a flexible work/life balance. Now, with nearly 100 locations nationwide, the Melting Pot team is looking for qualified franchise prospects to help reach 125 open units by 2026. 

“We are truly the only fondue franchise in the U.S. — other concepts may have a fondue item on their menu, but it is not their sole focus,” said Shak Turner, senior director of franchise development. “As consumers increasingly look for experiential dining experiences, we offer a unique opportunity for franchisees to invest in an in-demand concept and dominate the fondue segment in their market.”

How Melting Pot Created the Country’s Top Fondue Franchise Opportunity

In 1975, the first Melting Pot location opened its doors in Maitland, Florida. With a simple menu of Swiss cheese fondue and chocolate fondue, as well as a cozy and quaint atmosphere, the restaurant’s popularity quickly grew. Soon, a college student named Mark Johnston saw the business boom, and after receiving permission from the original owners, enlisted the help of his brothers Bob and Mike to open an additional corporate-owned Melting Pot location in Tallahassee. In 1985, the Johnston brothers purchased the rights to Melting Pot and officially began franchising the concept.  

“I was in high school at the time”, said Bob Johnston, CEO of Front Burner Brands. “I wanted to support this exciting opportunity, so they brought me on to wash dishes. As I got into guest service, I really got a charge out of it. And although I didn’t start with a restaurant background, that’s the story of a lot of our franchisees.”

Over the past 40 years, Melting Pot has become synonymous with fondue dining for  celebrations large and small and has continued to grow steadily with dedicated, passionate franchise owners across the country. Today, the brand is affiliated with multi-brand parent company Front Burner Brands, which leverages its extensive franchise and restaurant industry expertise to support and evolve the Melting Pot franchise worldwide. 

This year, the brand is unveiling a new spin-off franchise concept called Melting Pot Social, which expands on Melting Pot’s winning menu by utilizing a full-kitchen instead of a cold-kitchen, as well as creates a bar-centric atmosphere to further appeal to the pent-up demand for social outings. The first location is opening later this summer.

How Melting Pot Franchisees Benefit From a Streamlined Operational Model, a Flexible Work/Life Balance and Industry-Leading Brand Recognition

As the country’s favorite fondue concept, Melting Pot offers franchisees a rare opportunity to help guests turn moments into memories and celebrate all of life’s occasions with friends and family around a fondue pot. Thanks to the communal nature of a fondue dining experience, Melting Pot creates an unmatched full-service restaurant business opportunity.

“If you’re looking to start something that isn’t going to be just another restaurant in your area, Melting Pot offers a one-of-a-kind franchise opportunity,” said Turner. “We are not quite casual dining, but also not quite fine-dining — we’re ‘polished casual.’ There are not a lot of other franchise concepts in that zone. Our primary goal is to provide the infrastructure and proven business model necessary so franchisees can provide customers with a perfect night out. Giving people the chance to put their devices down and be with each other is more important than ever.”

In addition to offering a cherished consumer offering, franchisees also benefit from a streamlined and cost-effective operational model. Since Melting Pot restaurants operate as a cold-kitchen, franchise owners don’t need to hire a chef who knows how to run a line or cook on the grill. This means food and labor costs remain significantly lower than industry averages in full service restaurants.

Turner also says franchisees enjoy a flexible work/life balance since Melting Pot locations are primarily only open for dinner. “We have franchisees who are teachers during the day and run the restaurant at night,” said Shak. “If a franchisee wants to spend the morning or afternoon home with their family on the weekend, Melting Pot ownership offers that attractive lifestyle.” 

How the Melting Pot Team Supports Franchisees and Connects Them With Premier Vendor Partnerships

Through the brand’s affiliation with Front Burner Brands, the Melting Pot team is able to offer a robust suite of ongoing training and support to franchisees. Each owner is supported by the  Restaurant Support Center All-Stars business coaches at the home office and in the field who provide assistance on everything from site selection, training, national and local marketing, operations guidelines and much more.

“We love, love, love, love the Melting Pot,” says Hollis Silva, owner of two Melting Pot locations. “We're strong believers in this brand. And, you know, we can't wait till we can get our third location.”

The Melting Pot team also supports franchisees in establishing a successful supply chain by connecting them with the brand’s premier vendors. “Franchisees have the opportunity to tap into our long-standing relationships with premier cheese and chocolate vendors, Emmi Roth and Puratos,” said Turner. “Our products are higher-quality than anyone else, which is why we serve 692,060 pounds of cheese and 542,250 pounds of chocolate on an annual basis.” 

Why Melting Pot Is Set for Major Growth in 2021 and Beyond

Now, with the goal of reaching 125 locations over the next five years, the Melting Pot team is looking for qualified prospects to help expand the brand across the country. With access to a streamlined business model and in-depth support, Turner says the ideal Melting Pot franchisee doesn’t necessarily need any restaurant experience but should bring a passion for the brand and a love of customer service. 

“We want someone who is passionate about the Melting Pot brand and is looking to own the fondue segment in their area,” said Turner. “That is why a lot of our most successful franchisees have grown up with the brand, starting as a server, working their way up to manager, operating partner, and then franchisee. If you’re passionate about offering a great customer experience and a Perfect Night Out™, this is the opportunity for you.”

Looking ahead, the Melting Pot team has identified several target markets primed for growth, including Birmingham, Charleston, Chattanooga, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Greensboro, Houston and Memphis.

For more information, visit:

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 97 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 Brands

Front Burner Brands is a franchise management company headquartered in Tampa, Florida. It is affiliated with the corporate owners of and its management services extended to Melting Pot, founded in 1975 with nearly 100 restaurants in the U.S. states and Canada. For more information, visit