TAMPA, Fla., Feb. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Melting Pot® Restaurants, Inc., the world's premier fondue restaurant and a leading polished casual dining franchise, announced today a same-store sales increase of 3.1 percent over the previous year, as well as a bump in overall traffic to its restaurants in 2015. Those results combined with key awards, menu and design innovations and strategic growth over the past year have secured the brand's place as "one to watch" in 2016 for international and domestic franchise development.
The Melting Pot's same-store sales increase outpaces that of the industry average of 2.7 percent for casual dining establishments, which was reported in MillerPulse's Business Conditions Report. The brand also saw an increase of 1.5 percent in guest traffic whereas the casual dining industry reportedly was down 0.4 percent on average in guest counts year over year.
"Coming off the heels of our 40th anniversary this is a significant achievement for The Melting Pot. Last year, we experienced an increase in sales without increasing our national menu prices," said Mike Lester, president of The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. "We were able to maintain our current prices, by driving additional guests into our restaurants and retaining strong food purchasing contracts."
The chocolate-covered strawberry on top of The Melting Pot's 40th anniversary celebration in 2015 was ranking No. 1 among 40 casual-dining restaurant chains in Nation's Restaurant News' 2015 Consumer Picks report, up from No. 6 out of 38 concepts last year. The Melting Pot ranked first in four out of 10 overall attribute categories, achieving top scores in cleanliness, service, atmosphere and craveability.
While the traditional fondue experience is still at the core of what sets The Melting Pot apart, the company spent 2015 thinking outside of the pot for ways to accelerate speed of service and increase repeat business. After extensive research into dining preferences and needs, the company began testing an additional menu of cooked-to-order small plate entrées called FonDONE™, as well as an interior redesign that maximizes dining space and comfort. Both initiatives are on display at the company's newest domestic location, which opened in November in Maple Shade, New Jersey. FonDONE™, which streamlines the dining experience and provides an alternative for a shorter lunch or dinner outing, was first introduced at The Melting Pot's St. Petersburg, Florida, location in early 2015.
The Maple Shade location was the first to unveil The Melting Pot's new design initiative. Detailed seating analysis and study of customer design preferences has culminated in improved seating areas throughout the dining room and bar to maximize restaurant space and create multiple interior environments to delight and surprise guests.
The Melting Pot plans to expand its footprint in select markets throughout the U.S. and overseas. Domestically, the company is seeking new franchisees in select markets, including Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; South Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Des Moines, Iowa; Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York; and Charleston, South Carolina. On the international front, The Melting Pot is focusing its expansion efforts in target markets across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Earlier in 2015, The Melting Pot announced the opening of its first restaurants in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The company just recently opened its first restaurant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in January 2016.
Through a strategic partnership announced in 2015 with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF), one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms, The Melting Pot is now able to leverage NGKF's expertise in providing real estate solutions to support the brand's long-term domestic and international expansion strategy.
"Our new alliance with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank accelerates franchise development, creates value for our existing franchisee's real estate needs and gives us a better understanding of the commercial real estate landscape globally," said Dan Stone, chief business and people development officer for Front Burner Brands. "With NGKF as our outsourced real estate department, The Melting Pot and its franchise partners benefit from an international team of experts who can help us deliver comprehensive real estate strategies tailored to each franchisee, market or prospective country."
Additionally, through The Melting Pot's "Path to Grow" financing program, approved restaurant operators can inject as little as 5 percent liquidity into the purchase of the restaurant to partner with the franchisor, who provides the financing. This new program offers attractive financing options to prospective franchise owners by allowing them access to capital without having to go through a traditional lender.
The Melting Pot operates more than 125 restaurants across 35 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Southeast Asia, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, and has 15 locations in development internationally. The concept is known for offering an assortment of flavorful fondue cooking styles and a variety of unique entrées served with signature dipping sauces. The menu features a variety of à la carte selections, highlighting customizable options that invite guests to enjoy one, two, three or more courses as they select any combination of individually-priced cheese fondues, salads, entrées and chocolate fondues.
In order to fuel growth, the company is actively seeking qualified franchisees and will host a franchising webinar on Thursday, March 17 at 11 a.m. (EST). To register, please visit http://www.meltingpotfranchise.com/upcomingEvents.aspx or contact Dan Stone, chief business and people development officer for The Melting Pot, at 800-783-0867 ext. 108.
To learn about fondue history and facts, check out The Melting Pot's fondue infographic.
About The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc.
Founded in 1975, The Melting Pot has offered a unique fondue dining experience for 40 years. As the premier fondue restaurant franchise, The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc. has more than 125 restaurants in 35 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Southeast Asia, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, and 15 international locations in development. For more information, visit www.meltingpot.com. To learn more about franchise opportunities with The Melting Pot, please visit www.meltingpotfranchise.com.
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SOURCE The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc.