Originating from the Latin word restaurare, which means to renew, restaurants have been a fixture in peoples’ lives since the 1700s. Since then, restaurants have grown into something more than places where we have food. They are a place where friends and families meet, share emotions, share laughter, shed tears and, most importantly, create memories.
Melting Pot is a restaurant that truly caters to taste buds and emotions. Originally founded in 1975 in Maitland, Florida, Melting Pot is a chain of franchised fondue restaurants known for pampering taste buds with various cheese fondues, wines, salads, ingresses of meat and seafood served with dipping sauces and chocolate fondues. When Melting Pot started, it had just three items on the menu. However, today after 45 years of continuous improvement, it serves a vast variety of delicious and mouthwatering delicacies. “For more than 45 years, Melting Pot has been delivering a unique fondue dining experience and we are proud of it,” says Bob Johnston, CEO & Chairman of the Board of the Melting Pot.
The journey: From a waiter to a successful CEO
It began when Mark Johnston, who was then studying and working as a waiter at Melting Pot in Tallahassee, Florida, noticed the increasing popularity of the restaurant and could not resist the desire to have his own. With the help of his brothers, Bob and Mike, they scraped together the funding, and in 1979, they purchased the Tallahassee Melting Pot.
The Tallahassee location flourished, and as Melting Pot grew, so did its menu. Over a period of time, many new items were launched and became a hit with patrons. The ambience, designed to complement the taste of the food, laid the foundation for the Johnston brothers to branch out and open their second location in Tampa.
At Melting Pot, every employee, irrespective of his or her position, is taught to think like a leader and take the responsibility of customer satisfaction.
Fondue: Gifting smiles. Creating memories
At Melting Pot, fondue is not just a signature dish, but a journey. It is a formulation which is a result of 45 years of continuous improvement. People of all age groups enjoy it since there’s something for everyone’s preferences. Bob defines Fondue as more than a meal and calls it an experience which people cherish for years. “That’s what Melting Pot does best. It offers deliciously distinctive experiences that are designed to be shared, savored and remembered,” emphasizes Johnston. Even after 45 years, fondue continues to bring people together and creates the same relaxed, welcoming, home-like environment where people feel connected to each other and when they leave, they leave with smiles and memories.
Work culture at Melting Pot
The staff is said to be the most crucial part of any restaurant since they are the ones who directly deal with the customers. In this domain, Melting Pot has set the industry standards and laid the basic framework of the restaurant business. Melting Pot has an open work culture where efforts are appreciated and people are valued.
At Melting Pot, every employee, irrespective of his or her position, is taught to think like a leader and take the responsibility of customer satisfaction. If a staff member finds someone in need of help, he or she immediately springs into action as if they were his or her own customer. The staff are trained to be leaders and treated like family.
Franchising: Changing the game for Melting Pot
After achieving continual success for a number of years, in 1985, Mark, Mike and Bob purchased all rights to the Melting Pot brand and established The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., a new franchise company.
The Johnston brothers had a clear picture of what they wanted to achieve. Soon after gaining the official rights to The Melting Pot, they started their research on the franchise system and found it to be the most efficient and trustable business model. This business move turned out to be very successful and the Johnston’s began to see their vision for growing the brand becoming a reality.
The ideal franchise partner must be motivated and have the relevant industry experience. They must have the knowledge and experience of actual business operations as well as the financial aspects of it. Being a team player and possessing leadership and team building abilities are a must. A franchise partner should be equally excited and share the same vision as Melting Pot and must be willing to do everything it takes to make their franchise a success.
After the initial training which gives the franchisee a clear idea of what the brand is about and teaches them the operational processes, comes the most crucial part, the support. Having understood the importance of operational excellence, Melting Pot ensures that every franchisee receives comprehensive support from Front Burner, a franchise management company headquartered in Tampa. To prepare the franchise for the real time business challenges, Front Burner provides a full suite of support services, including selecting exclusive territory, site selection, lease negotiations, interior design and construction, equipment and supply packages, operations manuals, comprehensive initial training, grand opening marketing campaigns, strategic planning meetings, ongoing training through online learning platforms, webinars, and in person, advertising and promotional, digital advertising, public relations, on-site support through Franchise Business Consultants and Local Marketing Consultants, menu development, and purchasing programs.
Even after 45+ years of establishment, Melting Pot is hungry for more. More success, more happiness and more satisfaction. Clearly a brand of people’s choice, Melting Pot has, is and will continue to create smiles and gifting memories.