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Fine dine 2016-02-05

Fonduelicious foray of The Melting Pot In India soon

By Amanpreet Kaur, TFW Bureau Chief Sub Editor

Eating out trend in India has seen an upsurge. As consumers are fond of experiencing new cuisines and flavours, ‘The Melting Pot’, the US based premier fondue restaurant and a leading polished casual dining franchise believes that there are chances that fondue concept will surely hit on the Indian taste buds. Here’s what Dan Stone, Chief Business and People Development Officer for Front Burner, the restaurant management company of The Melting Pot says about unveiling its restaurants in the top Indian cities.

Tell us in brief about The Melting Pot and what all market research, your brand conducted for entering the Indian market.

The Melting Pot operates more than 125 restaurants across 35 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates, and has more than 15 locations in development internationally. The concept is known for offering an assortment of flavourful fondue cooking styles and a variety of unique entrées served with signature dipping sauces. The menu features a variety of a la carte selections, highlighting customisable options that invite guests to enjoy one, two, three or more courses as they select any combination of individually-priced cheese fondues, salads, entrees and chocolate fondues.

We commissioned a third party firm in India to conduct a thorough market feasibility study for The Melting Pot concept in India. The owner of the consulting company, Nair Innovations, Inc. has first- hand experience with the brand in the U.S.

Why are you looking at entering the Indian market? Is it true that your brand is looking to open 5-15 restaurants in top Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai?

Numerous U.S. based food concepts have experienced success in India in the recent years. The customer base and potential in India is significant. The Melting Pot celebrates time spent with family and friends in an interactive dining experience centered around a fondue pot. Culturally, we feel this style of dining will translate well in India. Yes, we have initially identified 10 units for the aforementioned markets, as well as the cities of Pune, Chandigarh and Kolkata.

How much would be the investment and area for opening The Melting Pot restaurant in India? What kind of a franchisee profile are you seeking for opening your brand’s franchise?

Depending on the real estate site selected, franchisees of The Melting Pot in the U.S. can expect the total investment for one restaurant to be approximately $959,000 to $1,436,000 USD. For India, certain expense items and the real estate selected may cost more or less than the typical range in the U.S. The initial franchise fee ranges from $45,000 to $60,000 USD per unit depending on the number of units committed and there is a one-time training fee of $50,000 USD.

Our ideal franchisee candidate has restaurant or hospitality experience and can commit to a minimum development agreement of three or more restaurants. At least, one of the franchise owners must be fluent in English.

What are your expansion plans for 2016?

In addition to India, The Melting Pot is focused on expanding its international footprint in select markets across Australia, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Singapore. The company also plans to open its first restaurant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the first quarter of 2016. Domestically, the company is seeking new franchisees in markets including Miami-South Beach; Houston; Miami; Los Angeles; Des Moines, Iowa; Charleston, S.C.; and the New York City.

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