The franchise has long offered customers tableside cheese fondue appetizers and chocolate fondue desserts, in addition to savory fondue entrées that feature meats and other raw items. At Melting Pot , guests are able to cook their food in oil or in vegetable broth, citrus-cilantro Mojo broth, or wine-rich Coq au Vin style broth.
Mike Lester, president of Melting Pot, said the broths were introduced at the 43-year-old chain about 25 years ago because guests were seeking more healthful dining options. While guest weren’t quick to take to the three broths, they now account for close to 95% of entrée orders. Lester said, “They like the broth, but they miss the beautiful caramelization that came from the oil.”
Lester said that for the past couple of years, the franchise has been testing cast-iron ridged griddles at their international locations in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Mexico, and Qatar. Last year, the business commissioned United Laboratories to test the air where the griddles were used to make sure they were in line with air-quality regulations in the United States.
Melting Pot began testing the Staub cast-iron enamel-coated griddles in the United States and Lester said it “passed with flying colors.” The grills function on the same induction cooking platforms as the fondue pots. Lester said, “We knew right away when we went into test with them that the consumer loved the grill and the flavor.”
Although some of the meats are marinated and others have dry-rub seasoning, guests are still encouraged to add their own garlic and wine seasoning that is brought out for different courses.
Lester said “The guests are really engaged and interacting with it on a really cool level.” He also added that one or two guests usually take over as grill masters for the table. While Melting Pot’s customers tend to be female, activity on social media suggests that more men are now taking interest in the new grills. Many female guests have been tagging men to let them know about social media promotions for the grills that will be rolled out across all franchises by August 28.
The average restaurant franchise has spent around $2,500 to $3,000 purchasing the new grills that cost about the same as the fondue pots.
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