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Bob Johnston, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Front Burner Brands
Mike Lester, President, The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc.
1975 in Maitland, Fla.
Founded in 1975, The Melting Pot has offered a unique fondue dining experience for over 40 years. As the premier fondue restaurant franchise, The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. has more than 115 restaurants in 34 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, and The Middle East, and more than 17 international locations in development. Known for offering a choice of fondue cooking styles and a variety of unique entrées, The Melting Pot's menu also features cheese fondues, salads, fine wines and chocolate fondue desserts. Fondue fans can join The Melting Pot's Club Fondue for exclusive promotions, special events and advance holiday reservation privileges. The Melting Pot is an affiliate of Front Burner, a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Florida.
U.S.: The Melting Pot has 111 restaurants.
Canada: There is one location open in Edmonton, Alberta.
Mexico: There are three locations open in Mexico City.
The Middle East: There is one unit open in Doha, Qatar.
Guests can enjoy a choice of five cooking styles, including our new grill cooking style, and a variety of entrees combined with signature dipping sauces. The menu also includes award-winning cheese fondues, fresh salads, premium meat and seafood, fine wines, Best in Glass™ handcrafted cocktails and decadent chocolate fondue.
The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc.
7886 Woodland Center Blvd. Tampa, FL 33614
Toll Free: 800-783-0867
Director of Public Relations
Director of Public Relations
The Melting Pot opened its first location in Maitland, Fla., outside of Orlando. First restaurant had four tables and a limited menu consisting of cheese, beef and chocolate fondue.
The Melting Pot opened second restaurant in Orlando.
Johnston brothers opened The Melting Pot's first franchise location outside of the Orlando market in Tallahassee, Fla. Current sustained operations: 3
Johnston brothers opened The Melting Pot franchise in Tampa, Fla.
The Melting Pot franchise location opened in Gainesville, Fla.
Johnston brothers purchased all rights to the restaurant chain and established The Melting Pot Restaurants Inc. The next 10 years are marked by conservative growth as the newly formed franchise company assessed the short-term growth opportunities and long-term strategic growth plan. Johnston brothers opened company units in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Melting Pot opened 2-3 franchised restaurants per year. Slow, but steady growth.
The Melting Pot launched aggressive efforts to educate, engage and train franchisees. By this time, 26 restaurants opened.
The Melting Pot opened 20 restaurants (averaging 3 to 5 per year).
The Melting Pot opened 10 restaurants.
The Melting Pot opened 10 restaurants.
The Melting Pot opened 10 restaurants, total 66 opened restaurants.
The Melting Pot opened 16 locations, total 85 stores opened.
The Melting Pot turned 30 and celebrated opening its 100th location in Pasadena, Calif.
Introduced 12 new locations and more than 30 signed and in development.
The Melting Pot opened 19 locations and 42 were in development.
The Melting Pot opened 15 locations and 26 were in development.
The Melting Pot signed first international franchise agreement for Western Canada and introduced 7 new locations.
The Melting Pot celebrated its 35th anniversary, opened its first international location in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and opened its first Mexico location in Mexico City.
The Melting Pot celebrated its 40th anniversary, was recognized as the No. 1 casual dining restaurant in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2015 Consumer Picks report and opened its first locations outside of North America in Jakarta, Indonesia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Melting Pot was recognized as the No. 2 casual dining restaurant in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2016 Consumer Picks report.
The Melting Pot signed the largest franchise deal in its history to bring 17 units to Mexico.
The Melting Pot introduces the evolution of its legacy brand – new design, new day parts and new menu offerings in Red Bank, NJ and El Paso, TX.
The Melting Pot offers guests a new cooking style and enhanced fondue experience featuring tabletop cast-iron grilling.
History of The Melting Pot
For over 40 years, The Melting Pot has defined the fondue experience niche across the American dining scene and now looks forward to continued domestic success as well as continued international expansion.
The first Melting Pot opened in April of 1975 in Maitland, Fla., just outside of Orlando. It was a cozy, quaint location, and its first menu consisted of just three items: Swiss cheese fondue, beef fondue and a chocolate fondue dessert. However, as the restaurant’s popularity expanded, so did its menu and ambiance.
Mark Johnston, who was working his way through college as a waiter at The Melting Pot, noticed the popularity boost and, with the help of his brothers Mike and Bob, scraped together funding to open The Melting Pot of Tallahassee in 1979 (with the blessing of the original owners in Maitland... of course). The Tallahassee location grew enormously popular, and within one year, its success paved the way for future franchise expansion.
In 1981, the Johnston brothers decided to branch out and opened their second location in Tampa. As their business grew, the brothers began to consider franchising even more stores in order to expand
Then in 1985, Mark, Mike and Bob Johnston purchased all rights to The Melting Pot brand and established The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., the new franchise company. After a year of research and reorganization, The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. began its franchise offering.
From the start, the Johnston brothers were diligent in their search for energetic entrepreneurs who were as excited as they were about the concept and its potential. Their commitment to building a close knit fondue family proved successful.
In 2010, The Melting Pot Restaurants celebrated its 35th anniversary, opened its first international location in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, signed a seven-unit deal in Mexico and opened its first Mexico location in Mexico City.
As The Melting Pot celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, it opened its first locations outside of North America in Jakarta, Indonesia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Today, with more than 120 locations across 35 U.S states, Canada, Mexico, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and more than 15 locations in development internationally, The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. is the premier fondue restaurant. A leading polished casual dining franchise, The Melting Pot was recognized as the No. 1 casual dining restaurant in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2015 Consumer Picks report.
At The Melting Pot, fondue truly becomes a memorable dining experience where guests can discover all the ingredients for an unforgettable culinary adventure including a relaxed atmosphere, private tables, attentive service, fine wines and signature fondue courses.
The Melting Pot is an affiliate of Front Burner Brands, a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa, Fla.
Awards for The Melting Pot
Nation's Restaurant News 2015 Consumer Picks: No. 1 Casual Dining Restaurant
OpenTable Diners' Choice Awards: Numerous Melting Pot restaurant locations are regularly recognized with Diner's Choice Awards and voted to the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America list by OpenTable Diners.
One of FSR Magazine's 2014 Top Franchise Values
Ranked the No. 4 casual dining chain in the Nation’s Restaurant News 2013 Consumer Picks Survey. The Melting Pot also ranked third in the varied menu category and topped the rankings in four attribute categories – cleanliness, service, atmosphere and craveability.
Franchise Business Review 2010 Award – The Franchisee Satisfaction 2010 Award
Ernst & Young 2008 Florida Entrepreneur of the Year. Mark Johnston, Mike Johnston and Bob Johnston were recognized as overall winners for retail and consumer products for Florida, qualifying them for the national competition.
Small Business of the Year for 2008. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce selected The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. as the overall winner of this award based on the company’s history, philosophy, business management, operational management, innovation, response to adversity and economic conditions, leadership and community contributions.
Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s 2008 Hospitality Hall of Fame induction as “Restaurateur of the Year.” Bob Johnston was recognized with this honor as an influential leader in Florida’s hospitality industry.
Franchise Times ranking as one of the top 200 franchise chains in 2008. The Melting Pot earned this spot with nationwide sales of $220 million.
Secret Service Systems award for 2008. The DiJulius Group, a customer service consulting organization, presented this award to The Melting Pot for developing the best service system including ideas, training, implementation, execution and the personalization of each customer’s experience.
Mayor’s award for charitable contributions in 2008. The Melting Pot received this honor for the second consecutive year after receiving the highest marks of all Tampa applicants for community involvement.
“2008 Best Signature Drink of a National Chain Restaurant” – Yin & Yang martini for Cheers Magazine
Wine Spectator Magazine annual wine list awards
Top 400 Restaurant Chains, ranked No. 168 (Restaurants & Institutions, 2007)
The Mayor’s Award for Excellence (2007)
National Corporate Sponsor of the Year – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (2005)
Ten Best Restaurants for Families (Child Magazine, 2004)
2004 Top 50 Growth Chains (Restaurant Business)
Top Franchise (Entrepreneur, since 2000)