Both come from a corporate IT background, but when it came time to decide on a business venture they could share, the pair looked to the country’s quintessential fondue dining franchise. Melting Pot’s strong, established system of training and support guided the Chapmans to success as they opened their first location in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2005.
“We knew we wanted to open our own business, but when a friend of ours mentioned Melting Pot, we didn’t really know what that was and decided to go to Dallas to check one out — and we just fell in love,” Becky said. “It was completely different from anything that existed in Tulsa. With the training and support they’ve provided since day one, everything has fallen into place perfectly.”
After bringing the first Melting Pot location to the state of Oklahoma, the Chapmans decided it was time to open their second location, and Melting Pot Oklahoma City kicked off operations in 2007. Always putting family first, the couple turned renovations of their Oklahoma City location into a group project, including their three kids.
“Integrity is everything, and Melting Pot is such a family-oriented place,” Becky said. “Once we got to know other franchisees and the culture of Melting Pot, it was a really great fit for us.”
Now, at the end of 2021, the Chapmans have taken over operations at their newest location in Destin, Florida.
“There are only so many Melting Pots, and it can be more advantageous to get an existing location than to start from scratch,” Mark said. “Our criteria for buying an existing restaurant was that it needed to be a one-hop flight, so we could get there easily from Oklahoma. But as we get closer to retirement, and we have a boat we can live on, Destin is right on the water. So it couldn’t have been a more perfect location. Plus, we both grew up in Florida, so we’re very familiar with the whole Northwest Florida area.”
As the world begins slowly opening back up amid the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers everywhere are hungry for exceptional, in-person dining experiences, and Melting Pot has offered franchisees like the Chapmans a prime opportunity to tap into this demand through its beloved product, streamlined operations, a flexible work/life balance and constant reinforcement from their Restaurant Support Center team.
How the Chapmans Value Melting Pot’s Dedication to Customer Experience
Melting Pot isn’t a new-on-the-scene franchise, making it up as it goes along. Owners like Mark and Becky Chapman have 40 years of franchisee experience to draw upon. In fact, members of the original team of three brothers who launched the Melting Pot as a successful franchise are still running the brand today, including CEO and founder Bob Johnston.
“For Melting Pot, partnering with Mark and Becky has been a perfect match,” said Johnston. “They represent everything our brand stands for, and as we move forward, Melting Pot will always be looking for franchisees who mirror their values and abilities.”
Since 1976, Melting Pot has become synonymous with fondue dining for celebrations large and small and has continued to grow steadily with dedicated, passionate franchise owners across the country. Today, the brand is affiliated with multi-brand parent company Front Burner Brands, which leverages its extensive franchise and restaurant industry expertise to support and evolve the Melting Pot franchise worldwide.
“Melting Pot does all that they can to help the franchisee, and they truly are real support for the franchisees,” Mark said. “But the other factor that really sets them aside is how they’re so concentrated on guest experience, and we try to mirror that as well to give the guests the best possible service.”
As the country’s favorite fondue concept, Melting Pot offers franchisees a rare opportunity to
help guests turn moments into memories and celebrate all of life’s occasions with friends and family around a fondue pot. Thanks to the communal nature of a fondue dining experience, Melting Pot creates an unmatched full-service restaurant business opportunity.
How Melting Pot Always Keeps Owners’ Best Interests in Mind
In addition to offering a cherished consumer offering, franchisees also benefit from a streamlined
and cost-effective operational model, as well as a flexible work/life balance.
Because Melting Pot restaurants operate as a cold-kitchen, franchise owners don’t need to hire a chef who knows how to run a line or cook on the grill. This means food and labor costs remain significantly lower than industry averages in full service restaurants. And everyone on the team benefits from the flexibility of a restaurant that’s primarily open for dinner only.
“Our relationship with Melting Pot has really always felt like a partnership,” Becky said. “It has always felt like they listen to us and address all our concerns, and we’ve never felt like they've ever asked us to do something that they didn't fully explain and wasn't in the best interest of the
company or in the best interest of us, as owners, moving forward.”
How These Franchisees Continue To Invest in Melting Pot’s Support Team
Though the Chapmans are franchise veterans after more than 15 years of Melting Pot ownership, they still benefit from the brand’s constant presence of support.
“With other franchises, you might feel concerned about approaching them with issues, but I’ve never felt that way about Melting Pot,” Mark said. “With them, it’s OK to be vulnerable. We can be very open with the franchise business consultants we’ve been assigned and explain areas we might be struggling in, and they always offer great advice.”
Through the brand’s affiliation with Front Burner Brands — a restaurant management company headquartered in Tampa that is also owned by Johnston and his brother — the Melting Pot team is able to offer a robust suite of ongoing training and support to franchisees.
Each owner is supported by the Restaurant Support Center All-Stars business coaches at the home office and in the field, who provide assistance on everything from site selection, training, national and local marketing, operations guidelines and much more. The Melting Pot team also supports franchisees in establishing a successful supply chain by connecting them with the brand’s premier vendors.
“Even through the pandemic, Melting Pot has been on top of everything,” Becky said. “At the beginning of COVID-19, I was concerned about losing $30,000 worth of food. Within two days, Melting Pot’s Restaurant Support Center had come up with a plan to correctly freeze and store the food so we didn’t have to throw anything away. It was a 20-page-long document full of detailed instructions, and they helped us every step of the way.”
With a goal of reaching 125 locations by 2026, the Melting Pot team is looking for even more prospective franchisees just like the Chapmans to help expand the brand nationwide. Total investments range from $1,339,023 - $1,587,201. For more information, contact us today!