Late last year, The Melting Pot franchisees Charlie LaRosa and Mike and Kim Hughes had the opportunity to relocate their Center City, Philadelphia, restaurant to Maple Shade, New Jersey. It was a big move after 10 years in business, but the team now owns their own real estate and a freestanding restaurant that is much closer to their New Jersey customer base. The change was made even more momentous by the debut of our company's new interior redesign and FonDONE™ menu. LaRosa and the Hughes' had seen the concepts in testing phase and seized the opportunity to open their new restaurant with elements of the next generation of The Melting Pot.
After conducting detailed seating analysis and study of customer design preferences, The Melting Pot's new design initiative features improved seating areas throughout the dining room to maximize restaurant space and comfort and create multiple interior environments. Open seating in the bar encourages both small social gatherings and larger parties, while subtle considerate design elements are geared towards a solo diner or couple.
In addition to the Maple Shade location, our design team works with each franchisee to discuss current design trends, personal preferences and the unique qualities of existing conditions. We are currently in the process of subtly transitioning our existing locations with our most extensive brand remodel to date; nearly a third of our franchise community is in some stage of construction upgrades. As we expand into new markets and countries, we are able to introduce ourselves to new guests with a fresh impression.
The Maple Shade team also debuted their new restaurant with an additional menu of cooked-to-order small plate entrées called FonDONE™. It gives guests the opportunity to try freshly prepared meals in addition to our traditional fondue entrées cooked tableside, providing an alternative for a shorter lunch or dinner outing. To date, 27% of entrees sold the Maple Shade location are FonDONE™ only. Another 12% of entrées are a combination of FonDONE™ and traditional fondue. FonDONE™ was first introduced at The Melting Pot's St. Petersburg, Florida, location in early 2015.
Kim Hughes reports they are thrilled with the response they have received from the Maple Shade community. "Since our grand opening in November, we have seen an increase in repeat business and enjoyed a successful holiday season with lots of positive feedback from our guests," she said. "Longtime customers who followed us here from our Center City location have raved about the FonDONE™ menu. After dining at The Melting Pot for years, they really like our fresh, new take on fondue."
The traditional fondue experience is still at the core of what sets The Melting Pot apart, but new dining choices give guests more reasons to visit more often. Still can’t get enough of our one-of-a-kind fondue dining experience? Be sure to fan us, follow us, tweet us, and check out our fan site to learn more about our restaurants, then visit our franchising website for details on ownership opportunities.