This casual restaurant chain you've probably never been to was just named best in America

The melting pot san diegoThe Melting PotThe Melting Pot’s San Diego location.

A fondue restaurant chain was just named best in America by Consumer Reports.

The Melting Pot beat out restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, Bonefish Grill, Texas Roadhouse, and Olive Garden for the title of “best casual restaurant.”

With 135 locations around the world, Melting Pot is smaller than many restaurant chains featured. By comparison, Olive Garden has more than 800 restaurants.

Consumer Reports polled more than 4,000 consumers on customer service, cleanliness, atmosphere, and craveability. Melting Pot won all of these categories.

The brand executed a turnaround plan that is paying off — especially with millennials, CEO Mike Lester told Business Insider.

“We knew we had to start going after the right consumer,” Lester said. “We’re always refining our menu, restaurant design, and customer service around them.”

Focusing on young consumers has helped Melting Pot grow sales and traffic during an industry downturn.

Melting Pot offers a 4-course tasting menu in which customers get a cheese fondue appetizer, salad, entree, and chocolate fondue dessert.

It also offers any item a la carte.

Providing customers with customisation options has been key to success, Lester said.

For instance, the brand’s cheese fondues vary by region. Three of the cheeses are standard, while the other 3 are chosen by franchisees.

“In Lexington and Lousville Kentucky, we offer a cheese fondue with bourbon and bacon,” Lester said. “Bourbon is big in that region, so we can appeal to the customers there.”

Melting Pot has also added seafood, such as lobster tail, to its entree menu.

For now, the brand is planning a summer menu that includes corn and shrimp.

Here are some customer photos that offer a glimpse into what it’s like to eat there.


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