Already Have a Building? Turn it Into a Melting Pot

With a non-traditional kitchen model and a unique dining concept, The Melting Pot affords franchisees more real estate options than other restaurant franchises, including the potential for simple and cost-effective conversions.

The Melting Pot, the “polished casual” fondue concept with nearly 100 locations worldwide, isn’t your average restaurant franchise. By offering an interactive dining experience where guests cook and eat their food right at the table, The Melting Pot is built around a simple, non-traditional business model that lends itself to a flexible real estate footprint. As a result, The Melting Pot franchise is an attractive opportunity not only for first-time business owners looking for simplified operations, but also for established entrepreneurs who want to convert their existing building into a fresh concept.

If a restaurateur, business owner or landlord has a great piece of real estate but their business is not performing, it’s relatively easy and cost-effective to convert it into a Melting Pot franchise. While start-up costs typically range from $1.2 million to $1.6 million for a new build-out, those with the right building can potentially convert their business into a Melting Pot franchise for as little as $400,000 to $750,000, saving time, energy and costs on site selection.

But what makes The Melting Pot different from any other restaurant conversion opportunity?

Since guests cook and eat their food at the table, The Melting Pot boasts a uniquely simple kitchen setup, reducing the amount of equipment, refrigeration and cooking space required. There is also less labor needed for the back of the house than typical full-service casual dining or even upscale concepts. Melting Pot kitchens do not require skilled line cooks, as most cooking is prep work.

“In a normal restaurant, you have a full-blown cook line where you’re staffing at least three people for the dinner rush,” said John Crawford, Executive Vice President of Franchise and Restaurant Operations. “We don’t have that. We have a more condensed, prep-only line. So just that alone, from a square-footage standpoint, allows us to run our kitchen in a much smaller space and still be efficient.”

All of these differentiators make it much easier for successful conversions, whether the building is a retail outlet or it’s already a full-service restaurant. In order to turn an existing building into a Melting Pot location, the potential site simply needs to follow these criteria:

Local Area Demographics:

  • Residential population of 150k within 10 miles
  • Daytime working population of 50k within 2 miles

Site Requirements:

  • Second generation, dense retail, lifestyle, entertainment shopping centers with heavy regionality and other unique high-end, full-service restaurants
  • 4,500 to 5,500 sq. ft.
  • Good visibility for signage
  • Nearby Traffic Generators:
  • Shopping centers with big box retailer names
  • Limited service, midscale business hotels and multi-family homes

This flexibility, combined with its non-traditional kitchen and reservation-based model, allows the brand to pursue real estate options and conversion opportunities that other restaurants cannot.

“We can consider some locations that other concepts would not be able to survive if they took it,” said Bob Johnston, Chief Executive Officer of Front Burner Brands, the restaurant management umbrella that oversees The Melting Pot. “Everybody wants an A-plus location, right? But because of the unique nature of The Melting Pot concept and because we’re not a place you go to just stop and eat, we don’t have to be on the corner of Main Street. We’re able to take locations that are less than an A and make them perform like an A-plus.”

Moving forward, the Melting Pot team is looking for qualified franchise prospects to help reach 125 units by 2026. For those with a building that isn’t reaching its full potential, converting it into a Melting Pot franchise can be a great, simple and cost-effective way to start a new chapter.

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