The nearly 100-location experiential fondue restaurant has embraced a more modern look in line with the brand’s continued evolution and targeted growth
Columbia, SC (RestaurantNews.com) The Melting Pot, the nearly-100 unit experiential fondue concept, has undertaken a major, system-wide remodel initiative to unify all locations with a more open, modern visual identity. Columbia’s The Melting Pot location at 1410 Colonial Life Blvd W, Ste 130 Columbia, South Carolina 29210 is the most recent restaurant to remodel.
“When we started to undertake the remodel, we had a pretty wide variety of designs. The brand is a legacy brand, and some of our stores have not been updated since they opened in the early ‘80s,” explained Deborah Ramos, senior design manager at Front Burner Brands. “All of the stores were well-maintained, but the system felt a bit disjointed. We’re calling this remodeling effort Melting Pot Evolution because it’s reflective of how our system is growing and changing to better serve our franchisees and guests.”
The remodel also sets the tone for growth within South Carolina, as the restaurant franchise hopes to build upon its three existing locations within the state.
“We are teaming with restaurant operators interested in building an amazing dining experience within their community,” said CEO Bob Johnston. “The Melting Pot has historically been a place to build special moment memories, and now, with our updated experience, it is for the frequent diner looking for an incredible, consistent meal out.”
The revived Melting Pot design features a more open, inviting floor plan with an open dining room and a designated, but easily visible, bar area where bartenders can craft the concept’s high-level cocktails.
“A lot of our stores are also using fireplaces and candle features, so there’s additional movement and a playful element that reminds guests of fire and melting,” Ramos added.
The Columbia location is the fourth of over 60 restaurants scheduled to be remodeled this year.
“We’re scheduling the remodels with individual owners’ needs in mind, but we continue to drive the changes because they really are having an impact,” explained Scott Evans, director of construction and design at Front Burner Brands. “We have seen systemwide year-over-year revenue increases, and remodeled locations are performing nearly 20% better than non-remodeled locations.”
Evans added that, as locations continue to embrace the evolution of the brand, franchise owners are remarking on the return on investment they have seen from remodel-related projects, and customers, both loyal fans and occasional visitors, are returning to their local restaurants to explore the changes.
As the brand continues to grow, its unique “eatertainment” offerings serve as a key differentiator.
“It is the mission of the brand to provide guests with their perfect night out, whatever that looks like — especially today with what’s gone on in the world over the last few years,” Johnston said. “Guests choose us over other options because we carefully craft an environment that encourages gathering with people they care about and spending quality time with them. The Melting Pot provides the perfect environment for that. What happens in a Melting Pot is as much about what’s going on around that fondue pot as what’s in that pot.”
In 2022, nearly 75% of open restaurants achieved all-time sales records, highlighting the brand’s growing demand. The Melting Pot team is working to meet or exceed the 125-unit mark in 2026, targeting expansion in Memphis, Houston, Charleston, Chattanooga, Montgomery and more.
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 www.meltingpot.com. To learn more about franchise opportunities with Melting Pot, please visit www.meltingpotfranchise.com.
About Front Burner
Headquartered in Tampa, Front Burner is the restaurant management company for Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., the new casual whimsical dining concept Melting Pot Social and fast-casual concept Oronzo Honest Italian! Melting Pot currently has more than 96 restaurants in 31 U.S. states and Canada. Melting Pot Social opened its first location in July 2021 in Asheville, NC. Oronzo opened its first location in Tampa, FL. in June 2020 and will open a second location in the area in October of 2021. For more information, visit http://www.frontburnerbrands.com.