The beginning of a new year always brings about a time of reflection, whether that's reviewing your accomplishments over the past 12 months or looking ahead to where you want to be for the next 12. At The Melting Pot, we have recently taken a moment to celebrate a very successful 2015 with our franchisees around the globe.
The Melting Pot saw same-store sales increase by 3.1 percent last year – well over the casual dining industry's average of 2.7 percent. And, we did so without increasing our national menu prices. Our guest traffic increased by 1.5 percent as well, while the casual dining industry as a whole saw a decrease.
What did we do differently to help our franchisees succeed? Certainly, the strength of our brand and the perks – like strong food purchasing contracts – that come along with it are factors. New initiatives to better respond to the needs and desires of our guests is another area where The Melting Pot excels. In 2015, we introduced both a new interior store design and a new menu of cooked-to-order entrees (called FonDONE™) that are doing very well in our test markets.
We were also very proud to be ranked No. 1 among 40 casual-dining restaurant chains in Nation's Restaurant News’ 2015 Consumer Picks report. Our brand ranked first in four out of 10 overall attribute categories, achieving top scores in cleanliness, service, atmosphere and craveability.
We continue to offer a strong marketing program and support around key holidays and seasonal occasions. Strategic partnerships like the one we made with leading commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank help us execute our domestic and international expansion, while our “Path to Grow” financing program offers attractive options to help our franchisees with their own expansion goals.
What are we most looking forward to in 2016? We just opened our doors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last week and are very excited to welcome the new restaurant team to The Melting Pot family. We have set the table for more domestic and international expansion in 2016. Representatives from The Melting Pot will be at Franchise Expo South Feb. 11-13 at Booth #605 to meet with potential franchisees, and at the International Franchise Expo this June.
So, what are you reflecting on for the year ahead? If restaurant franchise ownership is on your list of goals, attend our live webinar on Feb. 18 at 11 a.m. EST to learn more about business ownership with The Melting Pot.