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Melting Pot’s Culture of Community and Support Creates a Welcoming System for Franchisees

The fondue franchise embraces the “family” nature of its network, encouraging franchisees to get involved with each other and their communities.

By Morgan Wood1851 Franchise Contributor
SPONSOREDUpdated 7:07AM 01/03/24

As a system of 93 restaurants and dozens of franchisees, Melting Pot, the experiential dining fondue franchise, has maintained an impressive sense of community and support over the course of its nearly five decades in business. While many in the system refer to the network as the “Melting Pot family,” the leadership team, local owners and even individual team members have reached beyond just the internal family to establish similar relationships beyond the system, creating a family feel with local and national purpose-driven organizations.

“One of the things that I am most proud of with this company is the tremendous sense of pride, support and community that our franchisees give one another and their communities,” said Judy Schmidt, brand marketing manager. “They are some of the most passionate franchisees and operators that I’ve ever seen in my 20-plus years of hospitality.”

Melting Pot Franchise Owners Offer Community Support, Both Nationally and Locally

When franchisees are welcomed to the Melting Pot system, they become a part of a group that makes meaningful change for their families, communities and others in need. 

One of Melting Pot’s most well-known giving campaigns is its connection with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At the end of each year, Melting Pot participates in the hospital's Thanks and Giving® campaign, offering Donate & Dine cards to guests who donate to St. Jude that give them a discount on their next meal at Melting Pot. 

The annual Thanks and Giving campaign is a system-wide effort that Melting Pot has participated in for 20 years now, and guests at local Melting Pot locations have come to know and love the event, making a point to dine with the brand each holiday season to make their contribution to St. Jude. 

By partnering with St. Jude for the Thanks and Giving campaign, as well as other year-round initiatives like Forever Fondue, Forever St. Jude and national St. Jude Walk/Runs, the Melting Pot system has raised over $16 million for the St. Jude mission and continues to be a key corporate partner. Earlier this year, Melting Pot was recognized with St. Jude’s Corporate Pioneer Award, celebrating its role in paving the way for future corporate partners and recognizing the system’s ongoing commitment.

In addition to the system-wide commitment to St. Jude’s charitable efforts, individual owners across the Melting Pot system have taken the initiative to become involved in hyper-local efforts, giving back even more to issues specific to their own communities.

“There are some franchisees that feel very strongly about a certain organization or issue they want to support,” said Schmidt. “So some of our locations will support the food bank in their local area, providing bread and goods that can be provided to those in need. Each market is vastly different, and the needs in one market may not be the same as those in another market that’s clear across the country. We encourage our franchisees to go build those partnerships and relationships to get their name out there while doing something good, but they have the freedom to choose a partnership that is important to them and their team members.”

Schmidt added that restaurants will support local organizations through give-back nights and other special events, consistently getting involved in the local community and addressing challenges that exist in their own backyards, so to say.

Melting Pot owners’ commitment to supporting local needs is certainly remarkable, and the system celebrates the busy restaurant owners who take the initiative to build relationships in their own markets, but this is just one facet of the generosity that exists throughout the network.

As Melting Pot Owners Support Their Local Communities, They Also Support Members of the Melting Pot Community

The care and commitment that exists among Melting Pot franchisees is a major contributor to the brand’s longevity and success, and owners and operators throughout the system have done an exceptional job of supporting one another and working toward the success of the entire system.

Collaboration is a key benefit of the franchise model as a whole, but at Melting Pot, the care that goes into collaborative sessions just runs deeper. 

“There are franchisees that have been in our system for a very long time and have grown and evolved with us,” said Schmidt. “They definitely extend their arms to newer franchisees as they’ve entered the system to help them grow their own businesses.”

Whether it’s an experienced restaurant owner or a dishwasher who worked their way up to franchise ownership with Melting Pot, every member of the Melting Pot system is available (and excited) to help a fellow business owner. 

Each year, Schmidt takes note of families coming together at the annual conference, greeting one another and chatting about their businesses. 

“My favorite time of year is September when we all get together. It’s always fun to see our franchisees shaking hands and giving hugs,” she explained. “Some of our franchisees bring their family members to these events. I’ve even seen franchisees sitting side-by-side with their adult children who are trying to learn about and grow into the business.”

Whether franchisees are reaching out to one another for business advice, connecting with local organizations to give back or getting in touch with other members of the Melting Pot network to celebrate a system-wide giving milestone, everyone in the system is constantly cheering on each other and doing what they can to see the entire community excel.

“Everyone wants to see everyone succeed,” said Schmidt. “Having that ability to pick up the phone and bounce ideas off of someone is vitally important to someone that is trying to learn and grow in their business, and being able to harness a network with a sense of family and community has served us well.”

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